Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on June 27th, 2008 at 11:14 am
[UPDATE: Please see this story (posted at 5:35pm) for TriMet’s clarification of this incident.]
After over a year, and following clarifications from TriMet staff, their contracted security personnel are still allegedly telling some people that they cannot board a MAX train unless a hook is available.
Back in April of 2007, I shared reports from readers that were incorrectly told that they could not bring their bikes on board because there was no hook available.
In that story, TriMet strategic planner Eric Hesse said the security staff was not properly enforcing TriMet policy. He clarified with me that “there is no specific requirement that a bike hook be available,” and added that, “we have clarified this point with our inspectors and expect no further issues in this regard.”
But on Wednesday, another report of the same situation appeared on the Trimetiquette blog. The incident below happened on the MAX Blue Line at the 185th St. stop:
She [the blogger’s wife] was about to board, when she saw that Trimet ticket checkers were not letting cyclists board unless there was an empty hanger for their bike. Train after train they were kicking people off from previous stops, a group of 20-30 cyclists standing confused gathered…
My wife said one cyclist challenged them verbally and was given another ticket. His defense was that he was not blocking any one from moving in the cabin, and as he (and I) understood Trimet’s rules, this was allowed. No tolerance, bike on hanger or bike off train.
After reading that account, I asked TriMet’s Colin Maher for an explanation. Here’s how he responded:
“Thank you for bringing this to my attention and for giving me a chance to respond.
As this is the first I’ve heard of this incident, I can only speak from a policy perspective. The policy is stated on our website:
If bikes aren’t on a hook, they must be placed in one of the designated areas (see website for details). TriMet tries to accomodate all passengers, but there isn’t enough room for people to stand in the aisles with bikes, especially on crowded trains. The confusion in the past was over bikes in designated areas, not bikes in the aisle.”
So, to clarify, here is the official policy (taken from TriMet’s website):
“If all the hooks are taken, you may use an area displaying the wheelchair symbol when there are no senior or disabled passengers present…”
TriMet’s policies on bringing bikes on board has long been the source of confusion for some riders, and with third-party security officers trying to enforce them, problems seem inevitable — especially now that ridership levels are at an all-time high and TriMet is trying to deal with bike capacity issues.
TriMet has the right to deny people with bikes from boarding trains when they are too crowded, or when no space is available. But hopefully, this confusion over hooks and where bikes are allowed, can be remedied so that we avoid misunderstandings in the future.
What has been your experience with this issue? Do you find TriMet’s policies about boarding MAX with your bike confusing?