Trains For America

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Amtrak bill opens door for bikes on trains

Via New York’s Streetsblog comes the observation that Amtrak’s new reauthorization bill allows its federal budget to be spent on making trains accessible for bicycles. From Streetsblog writer Ben Fried:

Queens Congressman Anthony Weiner got the language into the bill after prompting from Transportation Alternatives. President Bush has not yet signed it into law, but according to the Times, the White House has signaled that he will.

“In the past, Amtrak has claimed that because the funding bill did not explicitly say that the money may be spent on bikes that they couldn’t make trains bike-accessible,” says T.A.’s Noah Budnick. “Now it should be clear to the most bureaucratic bureaucrat: Federal money for Amtrak can be spent on bike-accessibility.”

The bill does not mandate bike-accessibility, so riders will have to contact Amtrak to put it on its agenda.

This makes perfect sense when you thinking about Amtrak and intercity rail’s role in a cleaner environment. If someone can bike (possibly with the help of public transit) to the train station in New York, it makes sense that they should be able to take their bike with them and use it to get to their final destination when they arrive in Washington DC. Plus, wouldn’t some of those stops on the long distance routes be a great place to have a bike to explore with?

Filed under: Amtrak, ,

3 Responses

  1. Joshua Skolnick says:

    Metra commuter rail in Chicago permits regular full size bikes on all of its non-rush hour trains. There are open seating areas that allow enough room for 2 or three bikes per railcar. You can bring folding bikes on all of the trains, including rush hour, as long as they fit into the luggage racks or in front of you in the seat. Some of these folding bikes expand to a full-frame bike with full size tires when expanded. I cannot see why it would be difficult to accommodate bikes on Amtrak trains, since their cars are generally roomier than Metra cars.

  2. Allan says:

    Never had a problem of putting bikes in the luggage car.

  3. Justin N says:

    Amtrak’s California services have allowed bikes on for quite some time, including the dedicated connecting bus routes. (You simply throw your bike under the bus- Amtrak does its’ part by disclaiming liability.) I’d love to see this same accessibility available on the long-distance routes as well.

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