SEPTA Biking, Part 1

After months of consideration and internal debate, I’ve decided I would like to get rid of my car. Part of this de-car-ing process includes taking the train to work, which I have done many times and I quite enjoy it. However it would be nice to bike (instead of walk) the mile from the station to my office building, and I have never brought a bike on a regional rail train before.

SEPTA’s website has an informative page on “Bike & Ride” but the rules state that only two bikes are allowed on an RR train (that’s per train, not per car!), and bicycles are only allowed in the wheelchair areas. That means that if there are already two bikes on the train, or if no other wheelchair area is available to a passenger in need, the biker will be asked to leave the train.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia clearly states their position on SEPTA bike access, and claims that “people who depend on reverse commute trains and bicycles to access jobs in the suburbs can be denied boarding, [while] no other regular paying customer faces such uncertainty.” They also have suggestions for improvement, such as allowing more than two bikes on a train, and installing more bike-storing areas.

How often does bike trouble like this occur on the regional rails? Will I be SOL several times a week if I try to bike & ride to work?

7 Comments so far

  1. Melyni (unregistered) on August 9th, 2006 @ 3:17 pm

    What a crazy rule! I really can’t imagine how that would be enforced, though. Those come and go so fast, I doubt anyone can check all cars for bikes and make the exectuve decision as to let you on or not. I’de vote to allow more bikes. Change the law to limit only 2 creepy people per train….that will pretty uch clear it out.

  2. D (unregistered) on August 9th, 2006 @ 5:05 pm

    Try getting a foldable bike. They are allowed on any train at any time (even peak hours) and can be stored on the rack above the seats.

  3. Andrea (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 8:30 am

    Folding bike, great idea! I think I need to do a little research about good bike shops in the city, maybe do another post on that.

  4. Les (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 10:34 am

    Oooo… A post on bike shops in the city would be great! I’m in the market for one as well.

  5. Andrea (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 10:37 am

    I begin my research this weekend!

  6. sucellus (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 10:50 am

    This place is just over the walnut st bridge in the Left Bank. They’ve got a really great selection of folding bikes and some of the best staff in the area. You should definitely check them out.

  7. John (unregistered) on August 10th, 2006 @ 2:53 pm

    Yes, the conductors do enforce the bike rules. Some conductors will bend on the two bikes per train rule but others don’t and purchasing a folding bike is your best option.

    In the meantime there are a few things you can do to make your trip easier. Take an earlier train or if you are going outbound get on at the first Center City stop (30th St if you’re going north and Market East if you are going west). You should also look at backup options such as taking your bike on the bus.

    In addition to Trophy Bikes there is also Downtube Bikes in Bensalem, it’s a short bike ride from the R7 Cornwells Heights stop and they have an extensive mail order business with excellent prices.

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