NJ Transit is making its Atlantic City Line trains more friendly for bicycle riders.
Starting this past Saturday, all Atlantic City Line weekend trains were designated as “bike friendly,” with each train able to carry up to a dozen bicycles.
The service is part of NJ Transit’s “Bike Aboard” program, which is being expanded to allow all of the agency’s trains to carry more bicycles than ever. NJ Transit officials said in a statement that as many as 7,200 bicycles can now be carried on its designated bike-friendly trains on Saturdays and Sundays.
“We took a fresh look at our Bike Aboard program to identify further adjustments that would enable us to significantly expand access for our bicycle-riding customers,” NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein said in the statement. “The expanded capacity on weekends will make cycling to train stations a viable option for more customers, allowing them to complete the last (part of their trip) between the train station and their destinations.”
That option was well-received by people waiting at the Atlantic City Rail Terminal to take one of the Sunday afternoon Atlantic City Line trains, which run between Atlantic City and 30th Street Station in Philadelphia.
Atlantic City resident Kyle Lee said he and his family take the train to and from Philadelphia about four times a year to visit relatives.
Lee, 30, who works for Atlantic City’s recreation department, said it would be easier and less expensive to ride bicycles in Philadelphia than it would to take public transportation. He said relatives visiting him here could easily pedal between the Atlantic City Rail Terminal and his home on Tennessee Avenue, he said.
“It just seems like a good idea,” Lee said.
Doug Sanders, a 30-year-old attorney from Margate, said he already rides his bicycle to and from work about four days a week. He said he welcomes the opportunity to make the train part of a biking excursion.
Sanders said riding a bicycle is also better for the environment and helps save gas money.
NJ Transit’s former policy allowed for bicycle access only on open rail cars. That meant, for instance, that if only four cars of a six-car train were open to customers, then the train could accommodate only eight bicycles.
Under the revised Bike Aboard program, train crew members can open unused rail cars on designated bicycle trains to carry additional bicycles.
NJ Transit officials said in the statement that the agency opted to amend its Bike Aboard policy after getting numerous customer requests. The agency said it is also appointing a special “bicycle advocate” to keep in touch with the bicycling community.
And starting in October, NJ Transit officials said the agency’s rail timetables will use special bicycle icons to indicate the bicycle trains.
“After gathering valuable input from members of the cycling community, we worked to make some common-sense changes that help make NJ Transit one of the bicycle-friendly systems in the region,” state Department of Transportation Commissioner James Simpson said.
More information about the designated bicycle trains can be found on www.njtransit.com.
Contact Thomas Barlas: