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Thread: Folding Bikes on Metro

  1. #1
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    Default Folding Bikes on Metro

    I started commuting to Rockville from DC and bought a Brompton because of the Metro train ban on bikes during peak hours. I've been hassled occasionally by station agents/managers when rolling my bike through the station (telling me to fold it) and usually when I reply the bike is too heavy to carry, they tend to leave me alone. I hold it once in the train (my trains are usually pretty empty because I am on the reverse commute).

    This morning I started having a bit of a twitter war with WMATA (DC Metro) over folding bikes. This morning I was forced to fold and carry my bike to walk through the station to get to the platform. Seriously. Yet, double-wide strollers and rolling luggage (even the really big ones) can easily be rolled on their wheels through the station. Would they force parents to fold and carry their strollers? No, because that'd be silly and yet they want to force me to carry my Brompton (I didn't get titanium so not really that light) when I could easily roll it and fold it in my empty, reverse-commute car like I always do. Rules for the sake of rules are a pet peeve of mine. Granted, my right arm is developing a nice little muscle from all of the Brompton carrying...

    I received this PM from them:

    Hi Yasmeen,

    Thank you for your messages. I apologize for any inconvenience caused by our bike policy.

    Our policy states that "during peak periods, folding bicycles must remain folded and securely fastened while traveling through the system."

    I apologize if this policy has not been consistently enforced by station managers, as I understand that can cause some confusion about what is permissible.

    I will reach out to Metro Transit Police to clarify if this applies to bicycles in the station, rather than just on the train.

    Thank you,

    A.K.


    Anyone else taking Metro trains with a folding bike? I feel very strongly the language is at best ambiguous (what is considered "the system") and if that does include the stations, that's an unreasonable rule that should change.

  2. #2
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    Yeah, the bike rules on WMATA are BS. It all depends on the level of caring by the station manager (usually meh but not always).

    BART in San Francisco takes a different approach, allowing bikes at all times so long as riders do not try to put them on crowded trains https://www.bart.gov/guide/bikes/bikeRules. "Regardless of any other rule, kayaks (or bikes) are never allowed on crowded cars. Use your good judgment and only board cars that can comfortably accommodate you and your boat (or bike)." Relying riders' judgment is a good approach because a flat out ban does not account for less than crowded cars. They even allow kayaks during all hours, restricting them to the last car during peak hours http://www.berkeleyside.com/2014/04/...ly-in-last-car

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  4. #3
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    If I understand you correctly, you aren't folding your bike down and rolling it on the roller wheels. Is that correct? Does your Brompton not have roller wheels on it when you fold it? If not, have you considered having those added?

    I've always had mine folded when I've taken my Brommie on the Metro during peak hours, and have never been hassled for rolling it on the roller wheels while in the folded state.

    Unrelated, but I was hassled once (in 2014) because the station attendant insisted that I needed to have it folded AND in a bag, but I told her that the rule was changed per their site (in 2012). I also made a printout of that page and put it in my bag in case another attendant says the same:
    https://www.wmata.com/about/news/pre...ReleaseID=5331
    Last edited by drevil; 06-27-2018 at 12:17 PM.

  5. #4
    rcannon100's Avatar
    rcannon100 is offline Puppies! Puppies! Puppies! Puppies! Puppies!
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    What's "Metro" ??

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  7. #5
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    I usually pull mine around by the mini wheels on the fender in this position:

    Name:  20180627_161126.jpg
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    I got the bike cover and saddle bag when I bought the bike from Tim at Bikes@Vienna. If I have to transit a fancy lobby, or something, I'll cover the bike and pull it. If it's a really fancy situation, I'll fold it completely, cover it, and walk in like I own the place.

    I find the stock wheels a little small and wobbly, so I'll probably buy some aftermarket Eazy Wheels (or something even more trick) one day when I'm feeling impulsive.

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  9. #6
    TwoWheelsDC's Avatar
    TwoWheelsDC is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Crazy to have station managers nitpicking over this while seemingly ignoring actual, you know, crimes in their stations...

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  11. 06-28-2018, 10:16 AM

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    Needed to rewrite with a quote for context.

  12. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by drevil View Post
    I also made a printout of that page and put it in my bag in case another attendant says the same:
    https://www.wmata.com/about/news/pre...ReleaseID=5331
    Thanks, @drevil. I'm going to print that out and keep it on my bike. I'm sure some cranky station manager will hassle me someday (if he/she accidentally wakes up).

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    dasgeh's Avatar
    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    It's a stupid rule, but it's the rule. You could fight to get the rule changed, but that's (unfortunately) probably not WMATA's first priority. I would look for related opportunities to comment to WMATA -- e.g. when they have public comment about how to increase ridership, or fares, or even schedule changes -- and consistently write in with your proposed change. I bet if you searched once or twice a month for comment opportunities and had a stock letter ready to go, you could make an impact with relatively little effort. It'll take time -- possibly years.

    And join WABA, if you haven't yet.

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