Why I Cycle: The bike-to-transit experience

In celebration of National Bike Month and Bike Week L.A. (this week!) we’ve launched a new survey series entitled ‘Why I Cycle.’ This series spotlights local bicyclists who have made the daring leap from car-dependent to car-free or at least car-light in Los Angeles.

Want to share your story? Point your browser to thesource.metro.net/cyclesurvey

Why I Cycle: Connecting Transit Modes

Of particular interest to Metro is bike-to-transit behavior. The results: 49% of Why I Cycle survey respondents said they bike to fill a commuting gap – the fabled “last mile” dilemma.

We asked “If you ride your bike to transit, what lines do you take?”

Many people use a mix of transit but Metro Rail received the most votes, followed by Metro Rapid and Local buses.

Why I Cycle: Rail Station AccessWe asked Metro Rail riders how they access stations with their bikes. Results: 32% said they use the stairs, 18% use the escalators and 16% use the elevators. The remaining 16% said they don’t take their bikes on the train.

The large percentage of cyclists who access Metro rail stations using the stairs will be happy to hear that thanks to feedback at Metro’s Bicycle Roundtable, special stair channels for bicycles will be considered in the design of new Metro stations. The under construction El Monte Transit Station will be the first station to implement stair channels.

We also asked for specific ideas on how to improve bike-to-transit connections. Many said they’d like to see rail cars added that are solely dedicated for bicycles. Others complained that turnstiles made it difficult to enter stations and that wider gates should be installed. Bus racks capable of holding three bikes was another common suggestion.

After the jump, more thoughts from survey respondents on how to improve the bike-to-transit experience.


“A bike connection map from station to local bicycle facilities – i.e. help finding the bike lanes on Venice from the future Culver City Expo Line station.”

“Add hangers in rail cars to hang bicycles like in some famous subway systems. That way bicycles are hung vertically and take less space.”

“Have one complete train car dedicated to bikes, strollers, etc… Remove all the seats and paint it green with a giant bike route sign on it!!”

“In the evenings, when I’m coming home on the Red Line, there can sometimes be a lot of standees in the bike areas on the trains. It’d be nice to have a big obvious sign or other indication that it was for bike parking so I could point to that and they’d get the hint and move.”

“Improve safety at stations: a stop under a freeway overpass with poor lighting conditions is not an attractor to transit, bike or no bike.”

“Remove seats or switch to flip up seats to make more room in the train cars.”

“Search for opportunities to collaborate with the business community and local activists to promote Metro to the cycling community. For instance, have a program where local businesses will offer a discount to a shopper who arrived by transit in exchange for minimal advertising (inclusion on a list, mention on metro website, etc.)”

“Have at least two bike racks adjacent to every bus stops so that one can leave their bike at a bus stop.”

“Install 3-bike racks on all new buses. Not only do these racks have 50% more capacity than the 2-bike racks, they also accomodate long-ish wheelbase bikes.”

“Educate bus drivers that bike riders do belong on the street.”

“The one time I did take my bike on the train, I had to carry the bike down  a lot of stairs. It was cumbersome and inconvenient. Having stairs where you can roll the bike up the side of the stairs would help a lot.”

“Signs showing where the bike cars are so I know where there will be more space”

“Specific “bike cars” on rail. A full car at the end with no seats, for bikes and standing patrons. Taking some seats out of cars can create more crowds as sitting, standing, and passengers with bikes all crowd in, often blocking doors. A car at the end that can be used for standing and biking passengers only would be much more effective.”

“The turnstiles have made it very very difficult to get my bike into the subway. The elevators are slow and crowded and I’m happy to carry down the stairs, but it’s hard to life the bike over the turnstiles.”

“Increase bike parking at all rapid transit stations, and add bike racks at EVERY bus stop. Make sure there are safe ways (protected or buffered bike lanes, cycletracks, or bike boulevards) to get to every bus stop or transit station. And make it possible to rent bikes at major stations, so people can leave a bike at one station and then pick up another when they get to their destination, without having to cram the bike onto the train. Washington DC’s bike sharing system is a great example.”

“I think there should be a bike surcharge (25-50 cents more) to bring bikes on rail, but with that surcharge comes the luxury of a dedicated rail car. The surcharge creates a small barrier so people don’t just bring there bikes on a train to go one stop (biking distance usually) and serves as a small funding mechanism for the dedicated bike cars.”

1 reply

  1. I second the idea about the need to make it clearer to passengers that the area without seats is for bikes, not just for standing people.

    The current signs (picture icons), while stylish, are too abstract to get the point across. Lots of people in my experience block the bike area, leaving bikers who are less confrontational to hold their bikes near the doors, where they’re less stable and pose more of a safety hazard for others, as they’re not stopped against the wall.

    Bravo, though, to Metro, for taking out these seats and making the space for bikers. Follow-through on new signage would be helpful to bikers.

    Perhaps signs like the disabled seating signs would be helpful — ie, explicitly stating, please give up this space for bikes. The signage last time I took a bike on rail was too subtle for passengers, apparently!