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Old 04-20-06, 06:57 PM   #1
twahl
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Poor Koffee...

I get this call from Koffee while I'm on my way to dinner tonight. Not only did someone snatch her Campy wheel, but she had a brand new blinkie disappear. Then to make matters worse, they wouldn't let her on the Metro train with her Bike Friday. The connection wasn't good, but if I get the story close to right, she did her research and the Metro web site says bikes are fine. They wouldn't let her on, and ended up (after a couple of supervisors) detaining her for about a half hour so they could bring in someone else to tell her she couldn't bring her bike on the train. Which moved her from off-peak to peak hours...meaning she had to pay more for the trip. Then either her cell phone battery was dead or she went underground or something cause I lost her at that point in the story.

Poor Koffee!
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Old 04-20-06, 07:26 PM   #2
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[quote=supcom]

For what it's worth, I looked up the bike rules for the metro.



and finally, there is the catch-all that can be used against you whenever:

Quote:
At all times, Metro Station Managers or Metro Transit Police may exercise discretion to temporarily deny cyclists access to station mezzanines and platforms during periods of passenger congestion until the congestion is cleared.
That wouldn't have applied. I'm doing a reverse commute, so it never gets crowded. But that's not why I had a hard time- they just weren't doing their job.
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Old 04-20-06, 08:02 PM   #3
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Supcom, I KNOW all that- I wasn't born yesterday. I was within all the guidelines. It's just that every idiot that worked for Metro claimed to know NOTHING about that- they said a folder is a bike even when folded, and there were no exceptions for folding bikes. That's what the problem was.

So anyway, I get to the train to jump with my bike. I was feeling tired, so I thought I'd save my legs for my commute tomorrow morning. But when I got to the train, even though it was folded, they made me go off to the side while they consulted their managers, and then those managers said that bikes weren't allowed during peak hours- no exception. I could not believe it. I kept asking them to go to the website and consult with the official policy on the website, but they refused to do so. So I ended up getting the supervisor's name, and lo and behold, when I got home, I check the website, and there's the policy. So I call the supervisor back, and he's like "oh yeah, when you left, we checked the website and saw the policy". So he apologizes. But what's the use?

So I needed to emote, and Twahl was the only person home at the time- after this ****ed up week with bikes, I just couldn't do anything but laugh the entire ride back home. I felt like such an idiot, dragging my bike on the train after being detained by these idiots. :-/

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Old 04-20-06, 08:16 PM   #4
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lol she just dropped the F bomb on us!

Im going far , far , away for 3 days till it blows over! heheheh


Hey Koffee, Move down here, I promise, the only train youll see is Tweetsie Railroad.
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Old 04-20-06, 08:34 PM   #5
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Not only the F-bomb, but I think I heard some uncomplimentary references to a deity or two as well.

She was laughing though!
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Old 04-20-06, 09:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koffee brown
Supcom, I KNOW all that- I wasn't born yesterday. I was within all the guidelines. It's just that every idiot that worked for Metro claimed to know NOTHING about that- they said a folder is a bike even when folded, and there were no exceptions for folding bikes. That's what the problem was.
Koffee,

I'm sure you were well versed in the policy. My post was for the benefit of the many other forum readers (like myself) who weren't familiar with it. Specifically, the requirement to bag a folding bike is strange to me as in Dallas, this is not required, but is in both DC and Boston (and maybe other cities). This requirement might be easily overlooked by a visitor to DC who takes a folder only to be denied access becuase of the lack of a bag.
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Old 04-20-06, 10:50 PM   #7
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What brand of blinkie was it? I dont remember seeing what kind in either post.
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Old 04-20-06, 11:35 PM   #8
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You should have folded up your bike, put a plastic trash bag over it, and carried it in like it was a piece of luggage. What a bunch of bozos.
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Old 04-21-06, 02:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nachoman
You should have folded up your bike, put a plastic trash bag over it, and carried it in like it was a piece of luggage. What a bunch of bozos.

I suspect mylar does not meet the "sturdy" qualification.


Here's the bike on rail guidelines in case anyone needs them:

http://www.wmata.com/metrorail/bikes_guidelines.cfm.
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Old 04-21-06, 02:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koffee brown
Supcom, I KNOW all that- I wasn't born yesterday. I was within all the guidelines. It's just that every idiot that worked for Metro claimed to know NOTHING about that- they said a folder is a bike even when folded, and there were no exceptions for folding bikes. That's what the problem was.

So anyway, I get to the train to jump with my bike. I was feeling tired, so I thought I'd save my legs for my commute tomorrow morning. But when I got to the train, even though it was folded, they made me go off to the side while they consulted their managers, and then those managers said that bikes weren't allowed during peak hours- no exception. I could not believe it. I kept asking them to go to the website and consult with the official policy on the website, but they refused to do so. So I ended up getting the supervisor's name, and lo and behold, when I got home, I check the website, and there's the policy. So I call the supervisor back, and he's like "oh yeah, when you left, we checked the website and saw the policy". So he apologizes. But what's the use?

So I needed to emote, and Twahl was the only person home at the time- after this ****ed up week with bikes, I just couldn't do anything but laugh the entire ride back home. I felt like such an idiot, dragging my bike on the train after being detained by these idiots. :-/

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Next time try the next station if possible
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Old 04-21-06, 05:02 AM   #11
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I would have tried the next station, but I don't know the area well enough to risk it. Unfortunately, the Census Bureau is surrounded by bike-nonfriendly streets and highways. It took two weeks of varying my routine to find a route that would get me here with little hassle from traffic. *sigh*

So last night, I got home and checked the website. Sure enough, there's the policy. So I call back and talk to the supervisor from Customer Service. By then, he admitted he read the website and saw the policy and apologized, then said that even though he saw it, he can't force the branch manager to give me access to the trains. My argument to him was that no one wanted to do their jobs- they just wanted to take the easy way out and deny me access rather than taking the two clicks on their website to check their policies, and that every employee should know their company's policies, and if they don't know the policies, they should LOOK THEM UP, not rely on their pea brains to magically expand and obtain the information. Basically, they were all a bunch of dumb****s who were too lazy to do their jobs, and inconvenienced me in the process. So now, I get to follow through with the complaints, but I will call the WABA and see who I can contact so that my complaint will be effective.

I've also printed out the policies (6 copies), highlighted the section about folders and put a big assed black star next to the part about folders in case their lazy asses can't be bothered to read down the first two paragraphs to see the policy. I am going to keep this in my bag, and it's covered with that plastic folder material, so they'll never get wet or wrinkled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EricDJ
What brand of blinkie was it? I dont remember seeing what kind in either post.
It was that cateye blinkie- the one that's like 20 bucks or something like that, and it has 220 degrees of light illumination or something like that. It was brand new.

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Old 04-21-06, 05:21 AM   #12
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Koffee, I guess you'll have to move to Atlanta (Bicycling mags worst city for cycling). Bikes are ALWAYS allowed on trains and buses.
http://www.itsmarta.com/howto/bikes.htm
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Old 04-21-06, 06:48 AM   #13
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Koffee, just think of yourself as an educator. If you stick with it, one by one, you will educate Metro employees as to their OWN rules. A competent agency would require employees to pass a test on knowledge of the rules each year as a condition of employment. But, if Metro won't educate its employees, you can do it for them.

On the bright side. After you convince Metro to allow you to bring your folder onto the train, other passengers will notice. A year from now, maybe there will be two or three other people in each car with a folder...heck...in five years, D.C. might look like Holland.

I've been tempted to buy a small folder for use in Houston. The buses don't have bike racks. The train does not allow bikes during hours anyone would want to use the train. But, a mini folder in a backpack should work.
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Old 04-21-06, 06:59 AM   #14
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In Dallas, DART allows folders on trains any time. No silly bagging requirement. Non-folding bikes are permitted during non-peak hours only. Same rules for buses, but you will be denied boarding a crowded bus because DART does not yet have external bike storage on buses.
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Old 04-21-06, 09:53 AM   #15
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Koffee--
Metro has a new CEO, Dan Tangherlini. He used to be head of DOT in DC, I've dealt with him, he's a guy who takes complaints from the public seriously. He is committed to reversing Metro's well-deserved reputation for lousy customer service. He also happens to be a bike commuter. You may want to contact him.

There is also an online chat on the Washington Post website every other Monday that is monitored by Metro public affairs. You may want to raise the issue there as well.

As a side note, I find the Metro bike policy non-sensical. Apparently their argument is that bicycles, due to their size, create an unfair burden on other passengers during crowded periods. But there is no restriction of other large objects, such as packages, bags, wheeled luggage, and strollers. In fact, it's perfectly OK to bring a boxed bike onto the train during rush hour, which is even more bulky and less maneouverable. Taken as a whole, their policy seems aimed at discouraging bicycle use, and it works -- I saw a survey recently that people are far less likely to use a bike to get to a Metro station than for other similar trips in the city. It's too bad, because the layout of Metro lends itself to combining trips with cycling, as you've discovered.
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Old 04-21-06, 10:12 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koffee brown

It was that cateye blinkie- the one that's like 20 bucks or something like that, and it has 220 degrees of light illumination or something like that. It was brand new.

Koffee
If it was this light that clips apart, it looks like the mount is similar to a Serfas light. I have had some come loose too. Luckily I found the same light for uber cheap and bought extras. I think it fits the Cateye clip mount too. If it does, you can have one.

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Old 04-21-06, 10:18 AM   #17
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Koff

Sorry to hear about your week.

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Old 04-21-06, 10:34 AM   #18
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Ugh, you've had a bear of a week Koffee!

I say just grab some beef jerky (or whatever snack you choose), and put "breaking away" in the DVD player....that works for me

If you need a cateye light mount (no lights though...they all broke ), send me a PM, I think I have a few laying around.
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Old 04-21-06, 12:43 PM   #19
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Sorry to hear about your incident, Koffee. The Metro guys in DC sounds a lot like your average cop's understanding of the traffic laws as they pertain to bicyclists.

ZooBomb record on the MAX light rail in Portland is something like 80 bikes on a single car train.

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Old 04-21-06, 12:48 PM   #20
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damn. i understand your frustration. employees need to know the company policies! there really is no excuse. but, i guess, it happens all the times. we have cops that don't even know half the laws they should.
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Old 04-21-06, 04:33 PM   #21
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I've had a run-in with Metro police with my folding bike, too. I walked over to where the station manager sits, picked up a Bikes on Metro brochure, handed it to them, and continued on my way. They stood there and read it while I went up the elevator.

Official policy does require a bag. Having a garbage bag handy would be a good idea just in case they read that part of the brochure.
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Old 04-21-06, 06:59 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velogirl
I've had a run-in with Metro police with my folding bike, too. I walked over to where the station manager sits, picked up a Bikes on Metro brochure, handed it to them, and continued on my way. They stood there and read it while I went up the elevator.

Official policy does require a bag. Having a garbage bag handy would be a good idea just in case they read that part of the brochure.
Actually, the policy says "The carrying bags or cases shall be made of sturdy material such as canvas, nylon or leather-type materials." So you'd want to have a thin nylon bag handy.
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Old 04-22-06, 11:50 AM   #23
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Koffee,

Here in the Southern California area, I run into jerks when I bring any large package (not just the folders) on the light rail trains. I simply have a lamenated printed copy of the rules and regulations of my various regional train or bus when I board along with a nice soft nylon or canvas bag usually on the folded bike to hide it and pass it off as luggage. It is a real hassle I know. But I choose not dirty myself with going down to their level of insults. Hold your head up proudly as one of the pioneers of the new transit options-an owner of a beautiful folding bike.
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Old 04-22-06, 12:14 PM   #24
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I agree with others who have posted about the bagging-rule. It seems rather silly and non-sensical. The only reason I can see for it is that it is supposed to keep a dirty bike from getting other folks dirty when they brush up against it. However, a plastic trash bag should be sufficient for that purpose.

As for the light, I'm sorry to hear about that. However, if it's one of the lights that EricDJ has mentioned then I would personally suggest look at getting a different one for a replacement. I recently lost mine when the plastic clip failed after I hit a small pothole on my way home from work last week. The light was clipped to the light-clip of my seatbag. The shock from the jarring was enough to snap the clip. Luckily I had multiple blinkies including my barend blinkies. My Planet Bike BRT-1 stayed put nicely.
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Old 04-22-06, 03:43 PM   #25
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Lets not get mad, get even. DC is run by the Congress and the Senate. If even 1% of BF wrote (snail mail had much more impact) to their Congresspersons and Senators Metro would get a heap of hassle and might enforce their own rules. Far more expensive would be to get an injunction against Metro.
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