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Thread: Metro Rush Hour?

  1. #11
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    Hi all! There is some rhyme and reason behind the hours of the the bike restrictions on Metrorail (which are, as dasgeh says, different from peak fare hours). We look at the overall volume of ridership over the course of the day (entries and exits at 15-minute increments) on weekdays, across the rail system. In the PM, entries peak between between 5 and 6pm, at nearly 100,000 riders/hour. By 6:30pm, things are still going strong at about 60,000 entries/hour, with exits peaking about 30 minutes after that, so 7pm seemed about right. Loads can vary by station and line for sure, but as with most rules, simplicity is also important to consistency and enforcement, so we generalize to the system. I can try to put together a data visualization of these numbers if you're interested?

    Justin Antos
    WMATA Office of Planning

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  3. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Antos View Post
    Hi all! There is some rhyme and reason behind the hours of the the bike restrictions on Metrorail (which are, as dasgeh says, different from peak fare hours). We look at the overall volume of ridership over the course of the day (entries and exits at 15-minute increments) on weekdays, across the rail system. In the PM, entries peak between between 5 and 6pm, at nearly 100,000 riders/hour. By 6:30pm, things are still going strong at about 60,000 entries/hour, with exits peaking about 30 minutes after that, so 7pm seemed about right. Loads can vary by station and line for sure, but as with most rules, simplicity is also important to consistency and enforcement, so we generalize to the system. I can try to put together a data visualization of these numbers if you're interested?

    Justin Antos
    WMATA Office of Planning
    Thanks for the response. The flaw in your logic is the assumption that bikes would be getting on in the same places where that last surge is getting off. However, that's probably incorrect. Those will bikes are probably doing just what those other commuters are doing - getting on near the center and traveling outward. So if you allowed them at 6:30pm, even 6:45pm, they wouldn't be affecting those already in the system, heading out.

    Also, raw numbers are fine, but wouldn't the better metric be utilization rate? If 60,000 people is really just 80% of the seats filled (no standing), then why not let bikes on?

    PS. Given all the recent press about (1) driving to Metro from nearby and (2) crime at Metro stations, allowing more bikes on Metro should be good for Metro: encourage more people to bike to Metro, and let them take their bikes when them to keep safe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Antos View Post
    Hi all! There is some rhyme and reason behind the hours of the the bike restrictions on Metrorail (which are, as dasgeh says, different from peak fare hours). We look at the overall volume of ridership over the course of the day (entries and exits at 15-minute increments) on weekdays, across the rail system. In the PM, entries peak between between 5 and 6pm, at nearly 100,000 riders/hour. By 6:30pm, things are still going strong at about 60,000 entries/hour, with exits peaking about 30 minutes after that, so 7pm seemed about right. Loads can vary by station and line for sure, but as with most rules, simplicity is also important to consistency and enforcement, so we generalize to the system. I can try to put together a data visualization of these numbers if you're interested?

    Justin Antos
    WMATA Office of Planning
    Do you mind if I ask how up-to-date these statistics are? I read an article today that was stating how metro ridership is down http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...-revenue-down/

    And if trains are only 60% full at 6:30, wouldn't that leave a good amount of space for bicyclists to stand? It's not like they're taking up seats with having their bike on.

    It actually would be great to see a visualization of this data. I am curious to see how much it drops between 6:30 and 7. Thanks.

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  7. #14
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    I think Metro has struck a reasonable compromise on bikes...I mean, ideally, there'd be a "bike car" or something, but I can understand how the cost of that would be prohibitive. Given how awkward bikes are, how much room they take up, and how dirty they can be, they really just don't have a place on a full train. Even a 60% full train likely has plenty of people standing, so bikes would still be a potential hazard. As much as I think Metro can be terrible, this is one area where I simply can't fault their position, particularly since they now allow folding bikes on at all hours.

    Now, if only there was some way to keep airport passengers from bringing steamer trunks on board....

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    Hey Justin

    If we have your ear, here's my thought. While I frequently take advantage of bikes on Metro - I frequently have a hard time getting OUT OF metro. Where elevators are more convenient than escalators, pedestrians gravitate to the elevators. Since elevators are our only way out, we cyclists can get boxed out and unable to leave the system.

    This happens in Ballston all the time. I go to the elevator on the train platform. The elevator comes down from the mezzanine. And the elevator will already be full of pedestrians wanting to go to street level. And poof I cant get on.

    I have had several situations at Ballston where pedestrians box out cyclists. I think the new elevators at Rosslyn are going to make this a problem there too.

    Solution. Elevators say give priority to disabled and elderly. Good. How about a second priority for bicycles. Make clear that pedestrians should yield use of the elevators to bicycles (pedestrians are third priority). If bicycles are present, they go first - and pedestrians stay off the elevator till next time (I really dont want to be blamed for my handlebar sticking it to some schmo's gut because he jammed onto a crowded elevator).

    Thanks

    B

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    I've got an even better idea. If you can hoist your bike on your shoulder, you should be able to take the escalator.

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  12. #17
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    Yeah, good points all - at 6:30pm a station like Archives could be deserted while, say, Greenbelt is busy. But a station like U Street could also be hopping at 6:30pm. The rule isn't perfect, for sure - I just wanted to let folks know it wasn't totally arbitrary! And absolutely, utilization (passengers per car) would definitely be better than just raw volumes. Volumes dropping to 60% of peak doesn't mean the trains are '60% full' - some are empty, some are jam-packed. (Actually this is true at the peak hour too) And as Bob says, the capacity constraint is both the train and circulation within stations. This is inspiring me to refresh and present the data! Let me see what I can muster up.

    And yes! Folding bikes always welcome. I particularly like SharrowsDC's description of brining his Brompton aboard - "bringing a bike on Metro is like bringing a guest to a party" :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    I've got an even better idea. If you can hoist your bike on your shoulder, you should be able to take the escalator.
    CX bikes, properly shouldered, should be given special consideration!

    Seriously, I think Metro should allow more bikes during rush hour, perhaps with a permit, and possibly at the discretion of the train operator and station manager. Here's how it works:

    Cyclists should be allowed to get a counter rush or expanded hours permit. For example, there's no reason to ban bikes heading from Fort Totten toward Greenbelt in AM rush, or from Greenbelt to Columbia Heights in PM rush. This would help reverse commuters immensely, and raise Metro revenues for otherwise empty train cars. Permitted cyclists during rush hour would be only allowed in the front car, and only allowed to board if waved in by the train operator. That is, if there's a full train because of some delay or something, cyclists would have to defer to the train op's permission before boarding. What could possibly go wrong?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenbelt View Post
    What could possibly go wrong?
    So you're new to Metro?

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  18. #20
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    I ain't got no stinking CX bike. But then again, I could probably beat any Metro train by just riding instead.

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