The Caltrain workgroup has held several meetings and worked on gathering, refining, and prioritizing ideas for increasing capacity on the Caltrain system and smoothing the management of existing capacity.
These ideas are partially collected from the community and we hope you'll continue to contribute new ideas and refinements. Read on for our list!
The first list is those 7 ideas which we thought had the best potential to help the situation as well as being relatively feasible. These ideas were presented to Caltrain on Dec. 19th and are now part of an ongoing dialogue with them. Check out the later report for more details.
- Remove seats from bike cars to create more capacity
- No seats in bottom floor of bike car: theft risk? What is the ideal ratio?
- Removing seats on the Bombardier mezzanine level?
- Removing bike-car bathroom?
- Conductor-set folding seats, modified based on expected load for that upcoming trip. Not foldable by passengers, only Caltrain employees. Would allow changes to configurations throughout the day, based on expected ridership mix.
- Side-by-side bike cars (issues with ADA car)
- Real-time notification system of bike car status
- How many bike cars in a given train
- Which style cars (Gallery versus Bombardier)
- Morning notification or true real-time
- Use existing infrastructure such as Twitter
- Use volunteers to monitor information
- Priority Boarding: bikes get equal or greater priority than pedestrians in boarding to improve dwell time.
- Possible moving the bike car from the often-crowded northern end to the less-crowded southern end
- Allowing more than 4 bikes per rack/crib. Allow however many bikes can fit; if well stacked may sometimes hold 5 or more (without crossing the painted line indicating the aisle space).
- Demand-based bike car allocation: Allocating bike cars to trains with bike demand in mind, rather than only based on other operational needs.
- Allow standing bike passengers for one stop. These riders are dismounting the train very soon and do not need to sit down for a few seconds just to then re-stand and then get their bike ready, since everyone should be getting ready after the previous stop anyway.
- Statistics and monitoring (and reporting or transparency) of cyclist activity overall. Concrete numbers on cyclists, averages throughout the day, percentage of capacity that is taken along each stop of a given run, and perhaps many other types of stats (such as number of folding bikes per train) etc. This is needed for items like demand-based allocation.
The second list is the rest of the items we thought of, in no particular order. These items need a bit more refinement and help than those above to be feasible, so please help us out by giving your thoughts.
- Improved queueing systems:
- Preserved early status for previously-bumped users
- Queuing dots or other design on platform
- Improved education for new users
- Conductor consistency towards bikes. Mixed feelings on this item. Sometimes this works for us, and sometimes against us.
- More data on dwell time. Anecdotal perception is that "cyclists mount train last and therefore hurt dwell time". But this ignores the trickle-down effect of slow ped boarding.
- Educating new cyclists via flyers, posters, online resources such as videos.
- Educating pedestrians, for instance letting them know that the north-most car is intended for bikes.
- Asking for new ideas from cycling folks and from pedestrian folks via an outreach program at stations or on trains.
- Improved tagging system. Caltrain offering tags more readily (through conductors or TVM-type machines) and offering more flexible tags (design suggestions welcome - we've thought about nametag-style with slips, rotatable circles, luggage-tag style - simple sturdy paper with elastic, plain paper tags to make them cheaper, etc.)