Monday, June 11, 2012

NJT adjusts bikes-on-trains policy

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Calling it a “newly relaxed Bike Aboard Policy,” New Jersey Transit Monday said it will allow bicycles to board at all of its train stations effective July 1.

But while the policy includes all stations, access is still not at all times for standard bicycles, save for NJT’s Atlantic City Line in southern New Jersey. The policy will also allow train crew members to use discretion when allowing bicycles onboard trains if they have concerns about public safety. Folding bicycles may be brought aboard regardless of the time of day, however.

“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 stateTransportation Commissioner Simpson in a statement.  “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.”

“For many customers, bicycles are a way of completing the ‘last mile’ between the train station and their destinations,” added NJ TRANSIT Executive Director James Weinstein.  “By relaxing our Bike Aboard Program, we are encouraging an environmentally-friendly mode of travel that promotes the use of our rail service throughout the state.”

Simpson and Weinstein asked the North and South Jersey Transportation Advisory Committees (TACs) to review NJ Transit’s previous bicycle policy and make recommendations that could safely reduce restrictions limiting bicycle access on trains.  The Bicycle Policy Subcommittee was formed, led by NJTAC Chair Suzanne Mack and comprised of other TAC members, transportation officials, planners, and bicycle advocates.

Standard-frame bicycles remain banned on all trains (except the Atlantic City Line) between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekdays. Weekend restrictions are lifted for NJT’s Hoboken Division trains, but standard-frame bikes still are banned on trains to New York between 9:00 a.m. and noon, and on trains from New York between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Some holiday-related restrictions also are in place, though bike boarding generally is permitted on the holiday itself.

NJ Transit serves about 162 passenger rail stations located in New Jersey and in Rockland County, N.Y., as well as its busiest station stop, Manhattan’s Penn Station.