I am seriously thinking of moving to a new neighborhood that is close to a Metra station to help me with my commute. Specifically, I am interested in taking the Union Pacific West Line out bound in the morning from the River Forest stop to the Wheaton stop and riding it back inbound in the evening. From the Wheaton train station I need to commute 5 miles down the Illinois Prairie Path so I need to take my bike on the train and I would hope to do this about three times a week. The Metra train schedule says that up to 12 bikes are allowed on these trains at the times and directions I need. However, it also says that admission of bikes on the trains is at the discretion of the crew. Because of this little disclaimer, I am wondering how dependable this is going to be? Does anyone have experience taking a bike on Metra doing a reverse commute on a regular basis? How often if ever does the crew not let you on the train or worse kick you off half way there? Also, because I will be boarding a little far down the line does anyone know if there could be a problem with the 12 bike limit being filled by the time it gets to River Forrest? Being that this is the train that you would take from the city to Fermi Lab, this concerns me a little. I am also aware that folding bikes in cases are allowed on at all times and in all direction but I would prefer not to have to drop $600+ on a folding bike.
Schwinn Racer (3-speed 1970), DaHon (1984 "Hon") folder, Bianchi Milano
^-- The crew is nice if you're nice to them generally but Metra has very big blackout periods which are strictly enforced. For instance this entire week is a blackout because of the Taste of Chicago. No bikes on the trains period, no matter if you're the only person on it.
Yeah, the Taste of Chicago blackout week is really annoying, 20 mile drive one way and 2 dollars in tolls
I do a reverse commute on Milwaukee District North from Morton Grove to Lake Forest.
I rarely see anyone bringing their bikes going outbound in the mornings, going inbound at around 4pm usually has about one or two bikes. I haven't gotten kicked off before due to the need for space for the handicapped or filled up cars.
The only problems I have encountered are that some perfectly fit people don't move to regular seats automatically when they see a bike. Even when I politely ask them a few just ignore me until the conductor has to tell them to.