Dear SVBC members. Below is an e-mail I have been distributing to Caltrain cycling customers. It is my hope that you will participate in a dialogue about how we can improve our on-board bicycle service.
I'll be on vacation for a couple of weeks and won't be checking this page or my e-mail, but I will read all posts and e-mails upon my return and will be sending out further comments on our proposals.
This is a pretty long post. My apologies.
Special Assistant to the CEO
Dear Caltrain Bicycle Service Customer,
Over the past several weeks, you have written to Caltrain to let us know when you have been bumped from a train because of a lack of capacity on our cars that accommodate bicycles.
Some of you have written quite recently, some in response to a notification about this outreach effort that was distributed as part of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s Bikes on Board campaign.
We truly are sorry there has been insufficient capacity on our trains for all the bicyclists who wish to board. As many of you have expressed, the growth in popularity of the on-board bicycle service has outstripped our ability to meet that demand.
We appreciate the time and effort you expended to let us know, and we hear, loud and clear, that this is an issue that we must address.
We also appreciate the extra time many of you took to express appreciation for the additional service we provide bicyclists and to make many constructive suggestions about how we might improve our bicycle services. Rather than respond to each of those suggestions here, please be assured we have read each of your e-mails and that your suggestions are being given serious consideration.
Toward the goal of improving our bicycle service, we have begun meeting with key people in the cycling community in an active outreach effort that will continue for the next several weeks. We recently met with representatives of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, a meeting that prompted a follow-up e-mail from one participant that stated: “We appreciate your openness to discussing various ideas and suggestions.”
That’s what this e-mail is all about.
We would like to use this as an opportunity to reach out to those of you who are our cycling customers to have a dialogue about what we might be able to do to improve the Caltrain On-board Bicycle Service, with the expectation that your thoughts, suggestions and recommendations will inform the recommendations we make to the Caltrain Board of Directors.
As regular customers of the bicycle service, you bring your own level of expertise to how the service works at a consumer level and, as many of you demonstrated in your e-mails, you have some thoughtful recommendations for improvements.
Clearly, based on your e-mails and our continuing in-person dialogue with people from the cycling community, there are two primary issues: capacity and consistency. At the last two meetings of the Caltrain Board of Directors, Caltrain Executive Director Mike Scanlon committed to addressing both issues.
We recognize the majority of you are focused on improvements to the on-board service, but if we can also find ways to more effectively serve customers who are willing to park their bikes or use other programs, such as bike-sharing and folding bikes, that would expand our ability to reach out to more would-be customers.
So, it is my hope you will accept this invitation to begin the dialogue via e-mail. If you prefer snail mail, you also can write to me at P.O. Box 3006., San Carlos, CA. 94070-1306. Or you can call me at the number below.
I will do my best to respond to all of you, although I will probably use group e-mailings where ever possible.
We look forward to hearing from you.
In addition, at prior meetings of the Caltrain Board of Directors, Executive Director Mike Scanlon committed that at the January 8 meeting the Board would be provided with options to consider regarding improvements to our on-board bicycle service.
Unfortunately, that date creates significant scheduling conflicts for several members of our Board, including some who are particularly interested in being present for a presentation on bicycle service.
Staff attempted to schedule an alternative meeting date in January, but a mutually satisfactory date could not be arrived at.
As a result, the Board has canceled its January meeting and will not meet again until February 5.
This is good news as it relates to the bicycle service because it provides staff more time to engage in meaningful dialogue with members of the cycling community and to devote additional time to refining the options, incorporating as much as possible, the comments and suggestions of customers such as you.
Mr. Scanlon also committed to putting any service changes in place by spring, and that commitment remains unchanged.
Special Assistant to the CEO
San Mateo County Transit District
San Mateo County Transportation Authority
Phone: (650) 508-6340
Fax: (650) 508-6281