Share Your Bike on Metra Experience

Bike trip!
"Can we board this car?" Photo by Melissa McClarin.

Chicago Cycling Club president Anne Alt is collecting information from Chicagoland residents about their how they combine bicycling with Metra trips, for a survey that will be open until next Wednesday. She explains the survey’s purpose:

Allowing bikes on Metra has been a huge boost to cyclists and sustainable transportation in the metro area. Unadvertised service cuts (in terms of available space) have impacted Metra’s ability to deliver the access that was previously available and still implied by advertised bike capacity. Other changes (better conductor familiarity with Metra policy on bikes, reduced number of blackout dates) have resulted in some improvements to bike access.

“I wanted to get a better sense of how much access has been affected on various lines, and what other passengers’ experiences have been,” Alt said. She’ll use the survey results for an upcoming article we’ll publish on Streetsblog.

  • Erik Swedlund

    I find this photo to be very apt. On the rare occasion I want to take my bike on Metra (usually BNSF), I can never figure out to which car I should go. Also, I’ve been turned away a couple of times, so contemplating such a trip is stressful.

  • You are supposed to look for the international symbol for access, which is a white wheelchair on a blue background.

    A big freaking bike symbol, like seen here on Copenhagen’s S-tog suburban trains, would be an easy fix. See here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbondsv/8515540526/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesbondsv/8515543558/

  • Jennifer

    Honestly, I haven’t had a bad experience since the first or second year bikes were allowed on Metra, even on that most notorious of Metra lines. I’m curious to see if more recent bad experiences correlate with a particular line, time of day or week, type of station, etc.

    Theoretically, Metra should also be very interested in this information. If we can point to survey data and say “Hey, the BNSF conductors are consistently not letting people with bikes on board for no apparent reason, on top of the myriad problems that the BNSF has in general,” then perhaps in 5-10 years something will start to be considered being done about it.