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METRO Reconfigures Trains for Bikes
Monday, August 16, 2010 5:29 PM  

Interior of train with reconfigured space for bikesIf you rode the train today, you may have hopped on one of the 11 cars that was modified over the weekend to accommodate bicycles.

Four seats (two benches) were removed on the "A" end of the car and four seats on the "B" end - for a total of eight seats. Hanging straps were also added in that area.

This configuration was chosen after collaboration with BikeHouston last Saturday, and is part of the new METRO's effort to make its system even more accessible to bikers. The group brought bikes on-board to see what storage and movement would be like and unanimously chose the configuration METRO proceeded with.

This is a 30-day trial to see how both bikers and non-biking commuters like it.

"If everybody is happy with it after the 30-day trial, we'll modify the remaining seven vehicles," said Scott Grogan, senior director of rail maintenance/operations. "I was on the train today, and there were two strollers in the modified section. Then a bicycle and a wheelchair came on-board, all on one half of the car. And there was still room to maneuver."

The only expense to METRO was the cost of adding hand straps. To convert METRO's entire fleet would cost $4,300 - but we would also be able to use the 144 removed seats as spares - thus, saving the agency money.

"I think everybody's going to love it," said Grogan. "It opens up more space for more standees, and it helps accessible issues on the vehicle with bike strollers and wheelchairs."

Comments

Don G said:

The removal of 8 seats relates to a total of 72 or an 11% reduction in car seats for the elderly and children.

Looking at the latest stats on METRORail ridership shows a decline of over 9% for the past 10 months so maybe the lost seats are will not have any impact?

Perhaps METRO should require that those bringing bikes onboard have liability insurance?

Who is liable (METRO or the biker) if a passenger is injured onboard by a bike?

# August 16, 2010 10:44 PM

Cedric Collins said:

Hmmm---no complaints from this cat=>me.  Just need to make sure I can grab a seat before it's too late.  So that's why I saw seats missing.

# August 17, 2010 12:54 PM

Paul McGregor said:

You might also want to look at Portland's S-70s to see how they configured their bike racks. They actually use hooks and racks instead of just taking out seats. I have some pictures if anyone is interested.

# August 17, 2010 1:02 PM

paulkimo said:

You might want to look at Portland's S-70s. They actually use bike racks and hooks. I have some pictures if anyone is interested.

# August 17, 2010 1:12 PM

DominicMazoch said:

Now, how about removing the dancing pole in the door entrances?

# August 17, 2010 7:21 PM

Peter Wang said:

Indeed, the way to get the most people on the train would be to remove ALL the seats... kind of like medieval cathedrals, which did not have pews. People brought their own kneeling cushions, and they stood for most of the service anyway.

# August 18, 2010 2:30 AM

Judy Bloss said:

I am a senior passenger with mobility impairment and have a handicap hanging tag for my vehicle.  I sit in the handicap seat as I do not have balance to stand.  The removal of seats will reduce the available number of handicap seats, already limited some days by young, able-bodied people sitting in those seats.  If the rail car is full, I politely request the younger person to move from the handicap seat please.  It would help if it were more clearly marked for "handicap only" or younger riders were more considerate!

# August 18, 2010 4:07 PM

Mary Sit said:

Don G,

If a passenger is injured by a bike, the party who is liable is the one found to be negligent.

# August 18, 2010 5:06 PM

JamesL said:

I'll check out the new arrangement when I get back on Saturday, but I like the idea. Keeping bikes on the ground is safer than having people try to lift and hook them.

Many passengers choose to stand for the ride anyway, and this will probably relieve some of the crowding around the doors. It is rare to see a train with every seat filled even when trains are full. People are too timid to assert their right to a seat when someone with poor etiquette is blocking it.

# August 18, 2010 8:22 PM

Royko said:

What the heck, it's already a legacy boondoggle, chase more of the poor, minority, elderly, and handicapped bus transit dependent riders away from reliance upon "Rapid" urban rail transit.

# August 18, 2010 11:50 PM

DominicMazoch said:

I'd rather stand on the LRT than have to stand on-the-routes-which-need-the-artics-the-most:  81 and 82!  (but 2 and 4 come close!)

# August 18, 2010 11:53 PM

DominicMazoch said:

And I guess the liability issue is the same for those who used powered wheelchairs.  Some people who use them think they have right-of-way over everybody else.

# August 18, 2010 11:59 PM

don g said:

Mary,

So, if METRO allows bikes onboard that are not secured in-place, and a walk-on passenger is injured by the bike, then METRO might very well be held liable?

# August 19, 2010 11:15 AM

don y said:

The reason that many people choose to stand for the ride, JamesL, is because a lot of pasengers take up 2 or 3 seats and there are no other seats available. Another reason is because of the 2 levels with the narrow passageway in between which prohibits persons with disabilities,  the elderly, or passengers with strollers from sitting there. What Metro really needs is a conductor to enforce the rules. I suggest disbanding the Metro Police and make them conductors. BTW with the new bike areas a person with a stroller must either stand for the whole trip or leave their baby by themselves and find a seat.

# August 21, 2010 7:41 AM

Cedric Collins said:

Oh boo-hoo!  It's just a few seats, people.  There are other seats near the doors available for the disabled and elderly---if it's empty or if those sitting there would politely move.

Please note: I have read whatever suggestions that many of you have posted and do NOT and will NOT support any of them---period.  It's fine as is.  It's bad enough that those seats are removed for those bike riders and for providing more standing room for those wishing to stand for their duration of their ride on METRORail.

Also, who cares what is going on in LRTs in other cities---even if they have the same type of LRTs that we currently have?  I think you should worry about what's needed for Houston and METRO because we can try to do things differently from other cities and their transit agencies.

Thank you!

# August 25, 2010 6:47 PM
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