WMATA announced this week that Metro riders will be able to bring their bikes with them on trains regardless of the time.
The new policy “ends a longstanding restriction that prohibited bicycles during rush hours.” On social media, some celebrated the decision as a win for carless commuters, while others lamented the idea of having to compete for space with bulky bicycles on crowded Metro trains.
More from a WMATA press release:
The policy change, which takes effect Monday, is expected to make Metrorail a more attractive travel option for reverse commuters (i.e. customers traveling outbound in the morning and inbound in the evening) who want to take their bike to travel between the rail station and their workplace.
Metro reviewed its policy and determined that it could respond to requests from the bicycling community by ending the rush-hour bike restriction without significant negative effects. The review took into account that the majority of rush-hour trains are 8 cars in length (the longest possible), and that new 7000-series trains provide more open space.
“We received requests from Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) and others in the bicycle community asking us to take a fresh look at our policy,” said Metro Chief Operating Officer Joe Leader. “We believe this change supports ridership growth by Metro and a commuting option for those who want to have a bike with them.”
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association welcomed today’s announcement. “Bicycling extends the reach of Metrorail for customers at the beginning and end of their trip. Members of the community have long wanted the option to bring a bicycle along with them on their rush hour trips, especially reverse commuters,” said Greg Billing, WABA Executive Director. “I have to say that we’re pleasantly surprised with how flexible and accommodating Metro has been in responding quickly to this request. We are grateful to leadership at Metro for this policy change to permit bicycles during all hours of Metrorail operations.”
When Metrorail first opened, bikes were not allowed in the system at all. Since then, Metro has incrementally loosened restrictions without significant problems. Bikes were first allowed in 1982, with a paid permit on weekends and holidays only. The days and hours when bikes were allowed gradually expanded over time. Permits were eliminated in 1998, and the current policy was established in 2001, allowing bikes at all hours except weekdays from 7-10 a.m. and 4-7 p.m.
What do you think about the policy change?