24 bikes on Bombardier cars, 40 bikes on Gallery cars
After long discussion and input from several cyclists, the Caltrain Joint Powers Board (JPB) decided to increase space for bikes on board Caltrain bike cars. The 'new style' Bombardier cab cars will have room for 24 bikes, up from 16; the 'old' Gallery cab cars will go from 32 bikes to 40 bikes. According to Caltrain Operations Director Chuck Harvey, Caltrain can have these higher capacity bike cars in service by April.
Mr. Harvey's recommendation to the JPB included removing all seats from the lower level of the 'Bomb' cars, leaving no room for cyclists to sit nearby. Almost every one of the two dozen cyclists who gave public comment expressed their concerns about theft in a configuration that the SFBC calls "Stand or Steal." Several people joined SFBC Program Director Andy Thornley and California Cyclist publisher Bob Mack and asking the board to consider an extra month of consideration.
The SFBC proposal for 80 bikes on board each Bomb consist was rejected for a number of reasons, including the desire to reduce risk by keeping changes to a minimum. Caltrain operations people are apparently big believers in the law of unintended consequences.
JPB member Ken Yeager of Santa Clara County, who is himself a regular bike commuter, introduced the compromise motion for 24 bike space, rejecting any delay because the immediate need for more capacity.
The JPB and Mr. Harvey made it clear that these are changes that can be made in the short term. With today's approval, Mr. Harvey says we can expect to see increased capacity beginning in April.