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Old 11-20-08, 02:40 PM   #1
Ocrebels
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Amtrak has taken a definate "anti cycling" stance.

On a recent Oceanside brunch ride OCRR found itself at the mercy of the latest Amtrak set of rules designed to make it unworkable for cyclist to make use of the Amtrak trains.

Eight OCRR riders found themselves in Oceanside waiting for the 12:49 train back to Irvine. The train arrived with no less than 6 cars and a baggage car. We were informed that only one (1) car had bicycle hooks limiting us to 3 bicycles. The Amtrak conductors REFUSED to open or even consider opening the baggage car citing a recent Amtrak Baggage committee policy of not loading bicycles in baggage cars. The ticket personal did make known that if we were willing to pay $20.00 per bicycle we could load our bicycles in the baggage car. The attitude of the train crew was arrogant and indifferent at best.

The ticket personal took that position that "its not my job" and they could have cared less.

As a result, 2 of us rode back to Orange County and 3 waited for later trains or Metrolink.

It is oblivious that Amtrak has become anti cycling and is doing nothing to encourage the use of their trains by the cycling community.

As a result of this, OCRR will no longer plan rides that depend on Amtrak as the mode of return.

So riders beware. Amtrak does not like cyclists. Use it at your peril.
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Old 11-20-08, 03:23 PM   #2
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I'm wondering if there might be a certain engineer/conductor (whatever the name for the guy in charge on the train is) on that route that has a dislike for bikes. A group of around 15 us were turned away from boarding a train in Solana Beach about a year ago. One of the ride organizers called ahead of time to confirm we would be allowed on and everything was ok.... until we went to board the train. The ticketers and baggage handlers were very helpful, but the engineer wouldn't let us on. The train was obviously very underloaded and we were going from Solana Beach to Anaheim so it likely wouldn't be filling up in that distance. Ultimately he didn't let us on and we had to wait for the next train whos engineer was much more helpful. They do only have so much space alotted for bikes, but the engineer the 2nd train was cool with us storing them in general storage as long as we were cool with the possibility that the bikes would get knocked around a bit. It might be worth contacting Amtrak about this and the Pacific Surfliner route in specific.

I've heard a lot of positive bike stores about Amtrak so I'm optimistic.
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Old 11-20-08, 05:19 PM   #3
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It is oblivious that Amtrak has become anti cycling and is doing nothing to encourage the use of their trains by the cycling community.

is it now?





well, yeah - obliviously so
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Old 11-20-08, 05:27 PM   #4
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AdamD..that will have been the conductor. Engineer runs the train and could care less about what is loaded on it.

Hey at least you guys have cars with bike facilities...the ones I ride in the SE the only way a bike gets on board is either a folder or boxed in the baggage car. Amtrak is going to need to clean up it's act in the very near future, but then again they may not have too because they are the only game in town for long haul passenger service.

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Old 11-20-08, 05:40 PM   #5
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If you check their website, it tells you which stations will allow you to load and unload bicycles. Did you check their website before the ride?
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Old 11-20-08, 06:03 PM   #6
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How is this suprising? People who don't ride bikes view people who ride bikes as either

1) poor
2) beneath them

I was once refused access to the public subway during hours where it was explicitly stated in their policy that they were allowed - why? Probably because the ticket collector didn't like how I looked. Instead he simply made up his own policy.

In the end I ended up reciting word by word the exact time bicycles are allowed on the subway. I should've added some nasty remark at the end, but I didn't - and then proceeded to track level.
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Old 11-20-08, 10:27 PM   #7
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So riders beware. Amtrak does not like cyclists. Use it at your peril.
Amtrak never said anything to me when I take my folder. Seriously, I never had a problem and the conductor said nothing since the bike was in a bag. You might want to get a Bike Friday or some other folding bike because Amtrak's anti-bike rules are ONLY for full size non-folding bikes.

In fact, Amtrak's rules for folders are quite friendly.
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Old 11-21-08, 09:41 AM   #8
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IME Amtrak doesn't much like any of their passengers. Pity. I like well operated RR's.
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Old 11-21-08, 11:18 AM   #9
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Subsidy

If a company can’t make money doing what they do, the government shouldn’t pay them to do it poorly…
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Old 11-21-08, 12:39 PM   #10
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I once asked an Amtrak ticket clerk how much it would cost to go to Jacksonville Florida, with my bike.
She told me $86.00, but I would have to put my bike on another train, which would take the bike to Orlando, and they would send the bike back to Jacksonville on a BUS.
I said I wasn't interested at that point. The ticket clerk said she alrerady printed the ticket and I would have to pay a twenty dollar "Cancellation Fee". I walked away without paying.
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Old 11-21-08, 01:24 PM   #11
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folding bike! Dahon-Steve: Where do you put your folded and bagged bike on Amtrak--in the racks above the seats or in the in-car luggage rack at the front of the car (not all cars have these racks)?

Last edited by tulip; 11-21-08 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 11-21-08, 02:00 PM   #12
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Subsidy

If a company can’t make money doing what they do, the government shouldn’t pay them to do it poorly…
Need to stop subsidies for cars too...

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Old 11-21-08, 02:04 PM   #13
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folding bike! Dahon-Steve: Where do you put your folded and bagged bike on Amtrak--in the racks above the seats or in the in-car luggage rack at the front of the car (not all cars have these racks)?
I have put them in the overhead rack, in the storage space at the end of the car (rack or not) and I suppose in a pinch you could put it under your feet. My experience with Amtrak has pretty much been limited to the Palmeto and the Silver Meteor/Star. They are the only two that service my area. We don't have any cars with bike hooks and if bikes go in the baggage car they need to be boxed. Which I have done a couple of times.

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Old 11-21-08, 02:59 PM   #14
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Subsidy

If a company can’t make money doing what they do, the government shouldn’t pay them to do it poorly…
It didn't help passenger rail any that the government was subsidizing highway and airport infrastructure projects for much larger amounts than what it was receiving. Even the attempt to relieve rail lines from the "burden" of passenger service wasn't expected to last long, so it's no real surprise that it was so poorly conceived from the very start.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amtrak#...er_Service_Act
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Old 11-21-08, 03:11 PM   #15
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Subsidy

If a company can’t make money doing what they do, the government shouldn’t pay them to do it poorly…
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Old 11-21-08, 03:43 PM   #16
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The title of this thread is overly broad. While it sounds like the Southern California train (I assume you're talking about the Pacific Surfliner?) doesn't like bikes, the Capitol Corridor in Northern California goes out of its way to accommodate bikes.

I ride the Capitol Corridor with my bike daily as part of my multimodal commute. There's no baggage car on this line, and each coach car has hanging space for three bikes. In addition, you can bungee a bike wherever you can make it work, and even fold up the wheelchair seats on the bottom level to cram bikes in there. Some of the newer coaches now have a dedicated bike car.

I don't mean to defend Amtrak or the specific trains/conductors the OP had to deal with, but clearly this is not a systemwide policy. Who operates the Surfliner? Best bet is to contact them and communicate the concerns. In the Bay Area, bike-riding commuters are a big part of the success of the Capitol Corridor.

Last edited by Celos; 11-21-08 at 03:44 PM. Reason: clarity, grammar
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Old 11-21-08, 03:51 PM   #17
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dedicated bike car

Wow, how cool is that. We could kill for something like that on the west coast. Amtrak out here considers cyclists as a "necessary evil" and goes out of their way to make it difficult to take our bikes anywhere within their system. When a train pulls in with 6 cars and only 1 car has 3 bike hooks, that is a very sad state of affairs.
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Old 11-21-08, 04:02 PM   #18
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Capitol Corridor is on the West Coast -- it goes from Sacramento to San Jose.
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Old 11-21-08, 04:15 PM   #19
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Of course its bass ackwards and makes no sense. They're from the government and there here to help, whether you like it or not, so shut up and pay your taxes...
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Old 11-21-08, 09:56 PM   #20
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Wow, how cool is that. We could kill for something like that on the west coast. Amtrak out here considers cyclists as a "necessary evil" and goes out of their way to make it difficult to take our bikes anywhere within their system. When a train pulls in with 6 cars and only 1 car has 3 bike hooks, that is a very sad state of affairs.
Back in 2000 (last time I road Amtrak from San Diego to the OC) the Pacific Surfliner staff used to be very accomodating of bicyclists on the weekends - bring a few bungee cords or tiedown straps and you could store your bike anywhere it was feasable in the rear car. They were pretty restrictive on weekdays, but that was to be expected with the heavy M-F commuter traffic. Things must have changed since then.
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Old 11-21-08, 10:06 PM   #21
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It didn't help passenger rail any that the government was subsidizing highway and airport infrastructure projects for much larger amounts than what it was receiving. Even the attempt to relieve rail lines from the "burden" of passenger service wasn't expected to last long, so it's no real surprise that it was so poorly conceived from the very start.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amtrak#...er_Service_Act
Even more than that it did not help that the rail lines were run by stubborn idiots(A problem with all captains of industry, see: US automaker troubles). If those guys had been forward thinking we would be taking the train everywhere and flying Pullman and Penn.
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Old 11-22-08, 05:53 PM   #22
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Subsidy

If a company can’t make money doing what they do, the government shouldn’t pay them to do it poorly…

You hear that 3 big major auto companies?

I agree 100%.
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Old 11-24-08, 07:55 AM   #23
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The policy is no bikes in the baggage car, but for $20 a bike they'll allow it? Sounds like someone is running a scam.
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Old 11-25-08, 12:39 PM   #24
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put your bike in a bike bag.

that's how the Japanese do it. It's not a bike. It's your luggage.
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Old 11-25-08, 07:58 PM   #25
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Link to Amtrak bicycle policies for those interested.

Bring Your Bicycle Onboard
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