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Old 08-22-08, 03:45 PM   #1
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L.A. Transit Agency Tries To Cope With Additional Bike-Riding Commuters

L.A. transit agency tries to cope with additional bike-riding commuters

By Sue Doyle, Staff Writer Of The Daily News
Article Last Updated: 08/21/2008 09:55:14 PM PDT

http://www.dailynews.com/breakingnews/ci_10270383


Here is an rather interesting article about a growing problem on our own transit system. It made the first page here in Los Angeles today. I decided to post this article here in the Folding Bikes forum rather than somewhere else because I think the real solution lies in this type of bike. I just called the MTA's own customer service lines about the use of these bikes rather than trying to fit a regular sized bike either on the trains or the buses. Or it might be a case of a simple lack of awareness that these bikes even exist! The Operator informed me that MTA is very aware of these bikes but they cannot force people to use them. MTA's policy is for the makers of the folding bike to pay for advertisement space on buses or trains. I guess people prefer to drag an half-forgotten bike from the back of the garage and try to fit it into a situation that no longer can support them.

Last edited by folder fanatic; 08-22-08 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 08-22-08, 04:52 PM   #2
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Or it might be a case of a simple lack of awareness that these bikes even exist!
I think that very well might be the case. I only found out about them through a local transit agency's bike policy.

Now that I think about it I believe a wealthy childhood friend of mine owned a folder and I remember seeing him partially fold it once in his garage, but I didn't realize what I was looking at (I just assumed he was fixing or dismantling it) and the thought of a folding bike never occurred to me until I saw it mentioned in a local transit agency's literature. To think that they were right under my nose all along and now I consider anything else to be a "toy bike".

I guess that's the curse of modern marketing. The most useful things are seldom mentioned because it's far more profitable to trick people into buying stuff they don't need (after all, while you only need so much, the list of things you don't need never ends), which is a shame.

Still I think most newstands at rail stations would do well to stock a few A-bikes. I can't picture your average suit staring at them while waiting for his wife to pick him up every day in order to drive 2-3 miles home for more than two years before at least buying one to try.
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Old 08-22-08, 06:15 PM   #3
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Still I think most newstands at rail stations would do well to stock a few A-bikes. I can't picture your average suit staring at them while waiting for his wife to pick him up every day in order to drive 2-3 miles home for more than two years before at least buying one to try.
A VERY GOOD IDEA!
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Old 08-22-08, 08:58 PM   #4
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A VERY GOOD IDEA!
Well there is a nice spacious vacant newsstand in the subway stop next to my apartment building. So I've thought about it a few times.

If it became popular then I could see the potential to offer more substantial models like Stridas and Bromptons, but as it is I can't picture anyone plunking down almost a grand at a newsstand for something they're not even 100% sold on. New breakfast pastry? "Ok." $200 A-bike? "Maybe if it's nice out and my wife is running late after picking up the kids from baseball practice for the 3rd week in a row." $1000 Brompton? "I'll check it out on the internet when I get home and consider buying one from a bike shop."

The ensuing folding bike revolution will replace the soft drink fridge with a pyramid of Bromptons, but for now an A-bike or two propped up against the stack of New York Times will have to do .
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Old 08-22-08, 11:26 PM   #5
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Similar story from the San Jose Mercury; looks like folding bikes will become more popular in the SF Bay Area very soon.
http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_10252649
I just noticed that one of the pics look like a Dahon. You would think that the transit folks would recognize the possibilities of folding bikes and accomodate them accordingly.
Problem is, the ridership is way up and I don't think Californians are as "enlightened" as you folks in the Right Coast population centers.

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Old 08-23-08, 10:29 AM   #6
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Similar story from the San Jose Mercury; looks like folding bikes will become more popular in the SF Bay Area very soon.
http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_10252649
I just noticed that one of the pics look like a Dahon. You would think that the transit folks would recognize the possibilities of folding bikes and accomodate them accoosrdingly.
Problem is, the ridership is way up and I don't think Californians are as "enlightened" as you folks in the Right Coast population centers.
Thank you for taking the time to post that similar story from "up north." My sister lived there for several years. I guess she would have had the same commuter problems if she stayed there just like here.

Whatever the case may be, here is a clue for thought taken from the second article: ".....Other suggestions include installing more bicycle lockers at the stations or subsidizing residents' purchase of folding bikes that can be stored under seats..."

Last edited by folder fanatic; 08-23-08 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 08-23-08, 08:47 PM   #7
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Other suggestions include installing more bicycle lockers at the stations or subsidizing residents' purchase of folding bikes that can be stored under seats..."
It's amazing they are going to spend 100K on bike lockers. It just goes to show you even the transit company acknowledges the horrendous bike theft that goes on at bike racks near bus and train stops.

However, they probably don't want to advertise folding bikes because people will try to boad with large 20' inch bikes from Dahon and Bike Friday and not the CarryMe. During rush hour, those buses are standing room only and there is no way you can bring a package that large and take up two seats or have the bike on the floor blocking almost all the walking space. I suspect the crowded conditions of the bus will make it impossible for commuters to board with anything than an A-Bike or CarryMe.
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Old 08-23-08, 09:02 PM   #8
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I think that very well might be the case. I only found out about them through a local transit agency's bike policy.
Same here!
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you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way :p
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Old 08-23-08, 11:51 PM   #9
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I have a 20" folder and a 16" folder.

I hope commuters get 16" bikes for the train, and a minivelo if they want to race.
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Old 08-24-08, 03:36 PM   #10
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It's amazing they are going to spend 100K on bike lockers. It just goes to show you even the transit company acknowledges the horrendous bike theft that goes on at bike racks near bus and train stops.

However, they probably don't want to advertise folding bikes because people will try to boad with large 20' inch bikes from Dahon and Bike Friday and not the CarryMe. During rush hour, those buses are standing room only and there is no way you can bring a package that large and take up two seats or have the bike on the floor blocking almost all the walking space. I suspect the crowded conditions of the bus will make it impossible for commuters to board with anything than an A-Bike or CarryMe.
+1
Even in this forum of folding bike enthusiasts bikes like the Carryme or Strida are often discounted as being unnecessarily compromising, yet for the kind of wide spread usage that mass transit plans depend on bikes like these are really the maximum practical size. So given the average size of the popular folding bikes (from Dahon, etc) I'm not at all surprised that transit agencies are reluctant to espouse folding bike usage.

Personally I also think bike lockers are a poor solution when you consider the cost. The transit agency would be better off implementing a bike sharing program like Smartbike.
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Old 08-25-08, 10:02 AM   #11
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+1
Even in this forum of folding bike enthusiasts bikes like the Carryme or Strida are often discounted as being unnecessarily compromising, yet for the kind of wide spread usage that mass transit plans depend on bikes like these are really the maximum practical size. So given the average size of the popular folding bikes (from Dahon, etc) I'm not at all surprised that transit agencies are reluctant to espouse folding bike usage.

Personally I also think bike lockers are a poor solution when you consider the cost. The transit agency would be better off implementing a bike sharing program like Smartbike.
Smartbike like Flexcar, are really great ideas. The only problem is that you have to passively wait for someone (a corporation, the government ) to start-up a program in your locale. That could take years, if ever to happen. So I will stick with my little folders to solve my transportation needs in the here and now, rather than the "pie in the sky" future.
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Old 08-30-08, 07:45 AM   #12
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I was reading the other day that transit companies are looking to eliminate the seats from subway trains in order to pack MORE passengers inside each car. I can't belive it's come down to riding in a "cattle car" type train because transit companies are too broke to expand service. In such conditions, you better have a stick folding bike!
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Old 08-30-08, 07:55 AM   #13
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A VERY GOOD IDEA!
Or at least a picture thereof. Lower business insurance costs. Selling twisted news results merely in a gradual subversion of democracy. Inadequately torqued bolts can result in serious injury or death.

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Old 08-31-08, 03:10 PM   #14
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Week before last I was approached by a guy in a suit on the Red Line who wanted to talk to me about my Brompton. He was familiar with the "Brompton Race," and quite knowledgeable about folders in general. He told me he worked for the Metro and that they are looking to take out seats for more people and even allowing only folding bikes on (this is already true during rush hours on the red line). He was nice enough and seemed quite concerned about cyclists. He was talking about insentives for people to buy cheap folders, he mentioned a particular Dahon model. Now that I am reading this I see he knew what he was talking about.
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Old 08-31-08, 03:46 PM   #15
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it's come down to riding in a "cattle car" type train because transit companies are too broke to expand service. In such conditions, you better have a stick folding bike!
Guess You never rode a Toyko Subway/Train at rush hour. Last I heard they still use 'pushers' at the large station.
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Old 09-01-08, 05:59 PM   #16
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Week before last I was approached by a guy in a suit on the Red Line who wanted to talk to me about my Brompton. He was familiar with the "Brompton Race," and quite knowledgeable about folders in general. He told me he worked for the Metro and that they are looking to take out seats for more people and even allowing only folding bikes on (this is already true during rush hours on the red line). He was nice enough and seemed quite concerned about cyclists. He was talking about insentives for people to buy cheap folders, he mentioned a particular Dahon model. Now that I am reading this I see he knew what he was talking about.
The only incentive that is needed for a folding bike is letting people know that they simply exist-unless the people are really poor.
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Old 09-01-08, 09:17 PM   #17
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Guess You never rode a Toyko Subway/Train at rush hour. Last I heard they still use 'pushers' at the large station.
Yep, white gloves shoving people onto trains!!! I've never experienced it, but my dad did and he said it was quite awful.
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