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NJTransit expands travel options for bicyclists

June 11, 2012 10:53:32 AM PDT
The NJ Transit Board of Directors today adopted a new Bike Aboard Program that expands travel options for cyclists, enabling them to bring their bicycles onboard trains at all stations.

The transit agency's board on Monday approved bike access at stations with low-level platforms. Bikers already can board at stations with high-level platforms. NJ Transit head James Weinstein estimates about 60 percent of stations have low-level platforms.

"We heard from many customers who felt that NJ TRANSIT's bicycle policy was too restrictive to make riding their bikes to and from train stations a viable option," said Commissioner Simpson. "In taking a fresh look at the existing policy, we found that some simple adjustments would enable us to significantly expand access for our bicycle-riding customers."

Effective July 1, 2012, NJ Transit's new Bike Aboard Program will allow customers to bring their bicycles onboard trains on all rail lines at all train stations, with some exceptions during heavy travel periods.

The board approved rules that would restrict bikers from riding on trains into New York City between 9 a.m. and noon on weekends and riding out of New York between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

An initial proposal had called for an extra hour of weekend restrictions, from 8 a.m. inbound and 4 p.m. outbound. But after hearing from several individuals and members of bike advocacy groups at Monday's meeting, board members voted against the longer restrictions.

"Frankly, those trains are full," Weinstein said. "We're trying to balance the needs of bicyclists and the needs of our daily riders."

Kevin O'Connor, vice president and general manager of NJ Transit's rail operations, said he studied policies used by the Long Island Rail Road and MetroNorth, which also run trains into New York, as well as Philadelphia's SEPTA. Still, the vote disappointed bike advocates who noted that previously, allowing bikes on NJ Transit trains on the weekends was up to conductors' discretion.

"That means if you're in New Jersey you can't go Central Park unless you get up at 6 a.m. or wait until 1 in the afternoon," said Janna Chernetz of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, an advocacy group.

The policy will also allow train crew members to use discretion when allowing bicycles onboard trains if they have concerns about public safety.

The new policy does not require preregistration or permits, and there is no additional charge for bringing bicycles onboard trains.

Below are the highlights of the revised policy:

  • Collapsible bicycles are accommodated on all NJ TRANSIT trains at all times.
  • Standard-frame bicycles are permitted on the Atlantic City Rail Line at all times and on other rail lines at all times with the following exceptions:
  • On weekdays: Bicycles are not permitted on inbound trains that end in Hoboken, Newark or New York between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Bicycles are not permitted on outbound trains that originate in Hoboken, Newark or New York between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. These trains are indicated by a Q in public timetables.
  • On weekends: Bicycles are not permitted on inbound trains to New York between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. Bicycles are not permitted on outbound trains from New York between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • On the following holidays as well as the business day before these holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day After Thanksgiving, Sunday After Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Bicycles are not permitted on the day before Rosh Hashanah or day before Yom Kippur, but are permitted on the prior business day and day of the holiday itself.
  • Other times: Bicycles are not permitted on substitute bus service during rail service outages.

    The revised policy will be available on njtransit.com on July 1.

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    ONLINE: njtransit.com

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