As a regular rider of Metra, I know they do have some strange rules regarding bikes on trains. But to be honest, the rules are pretty well advertised, including blackout days- they make announcements at the stations, on the website, and frequently have signs up at the stations.
I also think Rubani is on to something- current ridership isn't really forcing them to be more accommodating to bikers since there are so few of us. What I think would really fix the problem is a section of the car allocated ONLY to bikes, such as they have on Caltrain cars in California. There is a section of a car with seats removed to be used only for bikes. That being said, we'd have to lobby as riders of Metra for that to happen, and with as few bikes on trains as I usually see while on the train I just don't see that happening.
And I completely agree that Metra provides the bikes space as a courtesy, one that they are not obligated to extend.
Not sure about that . . . it was Pat Quinn's threat of a lawsuit that got them to cave after years of resistance-- the implication being that there is some sort of legal obligation tgo allow bikes.
As far as Metra, I wouldn't ask for a full car just for bikes as I don't think enough riders would fill up a whole car. But perhaps the ripping out of a row or two of seats to make room for bikes to slide in and pile up left to right vs. front to back in the handicap accessible area on trains. While I am sure peak hour ridership of Metra would increase, I am not sure of how much it would as far as bikes on trains, at least where I live. I assume most of the people who ride to the train out here(Arlington Heights.Park, Palatine areas) work in the loop or near their stops within walking distance leaving no reason to bring their bikes on trains. But I guess little poll flyers could be printed up, or a day of action could be organized to ask cyclists and commuters alike of their travel habits.
Also.. Don't forget bikes banned on Metra this Saturday and Sunday for the Air and Water Show..
As far as hating public transportation, I don't. I just wish there was more of it available to me where I live. We have one train, and only two, maybe three time restricted bus lines that run through Arlington Heights and only hitting major destinations(Eg. Des Plaines depot, Woodfield Mall) leaving folks no other option but to drive. I always throw out the option to ride a bike but people don't seem willing to listen. Case in point, one of my couple failed Taco Tuesday rides. I was talking to a commuter who was heading home and grabbing his bike from the train station about the ride. Told him that I didn't know what his plans were, but that we were having a Taco Tuesday ride and were heading out to Wheeling and back. And he replied with some enthusiasm. all that way just by bike?!?!?!?! I replied back, yeah! It's only about ten miles or so round trip, social pace so nobody is left behind and so everyone who wants to can join. He was amazed and was wondering about the route and how we would get there. Sadly, he didn't come back to find out.
I have almost universally found CTA drivers accomodating in terms of bikes.
Do you have any specifics about your wife's experiences?
Regarding the buses you seem to playing leapfrog with-- no way you could either stay ahead of them or let them stay ahead of you?
Sorry you didn't get the blackout info about Metra, but we need public transportation and a blanket slam of it doesn't help anyone.
Well all these ideas sound great but........
It seems that none of you seem to remember that the rta is in a major budget crunch! i.e the constant looming of a cta doomsday! The rta funds both the cta and metra.
There are currently 11 metra lines that a minium of 8 train constent sets per line.
that means almost 100 train cars you want rebuilt to suit your cycling needs.
I'm sure most of you are unaware how ungodly expensive it is to rebuilt or remodel a train car none the less build a new one. Hello have any of you ridden Amtrak latley? There is a reason they are still running cars that are over 25 years old!
I am all for bringing bikes on trains but remember we are the minority on the train. We are only the faction of the people they move on a daily baisis.
If ya want new or improved bike space on a train beprepared to open your wallet to higher taxes!