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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Amtrak Looking to Handle Growing Demand for Bikes on Board [Streetsblog]

Amtrak can be a great option if you want to travel to another city sans car. But if you want to take your bike on board an Amtrak train, on most routes you’ll have to dismantle it, at least partially, and fit it in a box that for a $10 fee can be stowed with the luggage. Then once you arrive, you’ll have to put it back together — if you know how — before rolling away from the station.
More cities and town served by Amtrak are calling for bikes to be allowed on board, like they are on the Capitol Corridor route. Image: Bikecommutetips.com
Only eight Amtrak routes (Amtrak Cascades, Capitol Corridor, San Joaquin, Pacific Surfliner, Downstate Illinois Services, Missouri River Runner, Piedmont) allow passengers to roll bikes on board fully assembled. Even those that do allow “walk-on” service only do so in very limited numbers; most trains allow just six bikes per train. (Though if you have a folding bike you can store it in carry-on luggage.)
But Amtrak is seeing increased demand for walk-on bike service across the United States. In California, demand for bike accommodations has been so overwhelming that Caltrans and Amtrak recently added a reservations system for walk-on bike service for the Pacific Surfliner. Before the policy, if too many  passengers wanted to bring bikes on board, they were bumped or, at best, forced to hold bikes in the aisle...
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