A new BART survey shows that cyclists and non-biking passengers are coexisting peacefully for the most part, despite increased crowding on the system.
Results of a survey presented Thursday to BART's Board of Directors (and embedded below) finds that non-cycling passengers' feelings about sharing trains is virtually unchanged since the agency granted all-station, all-hours access to bikes in 2013.
The report also shows a 20 percent increase in the number of train trips cyclists made from 2012 through 2014.
The survey found that 78 percent of passengers say the new bike access has had no effect on whether or not they use BART; in 2013, that number was 81 percent. Asked how all-day, all-train access affected their trip on BART, 67 percent of respondents said "no effect," compared with 68 percent in 2013; 11 percent said it made trips better (2013: 8 percent) and 21 percent said it made trips worse (2013: 24 percent).
Even though crowding on BART has become a frequent topic of complaints from patrons, with weekday ridership rising about 15 percent since February 2012, survey respondents didn't report seeing bikes as a problem: 29 percent said there was enough room for bikes on rush-hour trains (2013: 22 percent); 23 percent said rush-hour was too crowded to add bikes to the mix -- 2 percent less than 2013.
The survey results reflect 2,349 responses from a group composed of riders from all of the system's lines and weighted to avoid over-representing cyclists. The margin of error is plus or minus 2 percent.
The study found 72 percent of passengers said they had not personally experienced a problem with bikes on BART; 28 percent said they had.
Non-biking passengers said they didn't like bikes on escalators (against the system's rules), longer boarding times because of bikes, grease from bikes, rude cyclists and bikes blocking seats.
As for cyclists, they weren't pleased with passengers blocking designated bike spaces, passengers failing to move to the middle of cars to make room for bikes, rude comments and missing trains due to rush-hour crowding.
Those sentiments were echoed by BART commuters at San Francisco’s Montgomery Station on Friday. Some are OK with bikes on crowded trains; others, not so much.
“I think in general they’re pretty respectful of people,” BART commuter Scott Fuller says about the cyclists he sees.
Jamal Jackson commutes from Hayward to San Francisco. He says he does not enjoy sharing train cars with bicyclists.
“The train is already crowded enough,” says Jackson. “They run up against you, run over your pant leg. They run over you.”
BART bike commuter Adrian Tofighi says he steers clear of heavy commute times to avoid issues with other passengers.
“If it’s super-packed, a lot of folks don’t really get that we have to get to work as well,” says Tofighi.
BART Bike Program Manager Steve Beroldo says he was pleasantly surprised by the results of the survey. Beroldo says the next step is to provide better and safer bicycle parking at the system's stations.
BART plans to add 280 bike lockers to its stations this summer. In addition, a new bike station just opened at the 19th Street Station in downtown Oakland. Similar facilities, which provide secure bicycle parking and other services to cyclists, are under construction at San Francisco's Civic Center and planned for the MacArthur, Concord and Pleasant Hill stations.