CHICAGO (CBS) — Metra has added a car dedicated to bicycles on the Milwaukee District North line, as part of a pilot program to expand bike access for cyclists commuting from the suburbs into the city.
The car can accommodate 16 bicycles, instead of the usual five on its diesel railcars. The program will last into the spring of 2020.
In addition, Metra will temporarily allow bikes on all trains across all 11 lines. There will still be limits to the number of bicycles allowed and cyclists should be advised there is no guarantee that bikes or e-scooters can be accommodated, particularly on rush-hour trains.
“We know this car will be more widely used in warmer months, but we decided to debut it as soon as it was ready because we’re hopeful it will create new options for residents looking for ways to get out of the house in a safe, socially distanced way,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski.
Metra said it chose the Milwaukee District North Line for the pilot because of the number of cyclists and reverse commuters who already use the line. The line is also close to forest preserves and trails, such as the North Branch and Skokie trails.
Gasoline-powered bicycles or vehicles of any kind are not permitted on any trains. Tricycles, tandems, trailers, bulky attachments or training wheels are also prohibited. Bikes and e-scooters are not to exceed 70 inches and are accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis. Once on board, cyclists and e-scooter users must secure their bike or e-scooter to one of the bike racks with a bungee cord or other device that they must provide.
Metra had planned to debut the car earlier in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed its completion.