Inter-city transit commutes are rarely fast or efficient when one of the cities suffers from less-than-reliable public transportation and the other suffers from suburban sprawl. That was Alex’s challenge.
Alex lives in San Francisco and works 50 miles away in downtown San Jose. I first met her and her lovely city bike in the bike car on Caltrain. Her commute started with a short bike ride to the train station, then a speedy hour on the bullet train, and ended with a quick one mile bike ride from San Jose’s Diridon station to her office downtown. At around 90 minutes, it wasn’t a bad commute considering the distance.
But when a conductor hassled her about her bike’s wire front basket not meeting Caltrain guidelines, she was forced to park her bike in San Francisco and take the shuttle bus down in San Jose. That is, assuming her train was on time so she didn’t miss the shuttle. But now, Bay Area Bike Share has her rolling in San Jose again.
I ran into Alex and her co-worker Dennis this morning as they were undocking bikes outside Diridon station. It was Alex’s third commute day since the system opened and she was thrilled. No more worries of missing the shuttle, no more risk of overcrowding on the bike car, and no more dodging nit-picky conductors.
Dennis was pleased too. Also a resident of San Francisco, he works in their San Jose office only occasionally, but now he knows that there’s a bike available so he can zip over to the office and back again in the evening.
For both Alex and Dennis, bike share gives them convenience and options. For Caltrain, it means more riders without adding more bikes aboard. For the Bay Area, it means more people getting to work without increasing car congestion and the air pollution that comes with it. That’s why the Bay Area Quality Management District invested in the Bay Area Bike Share pilot, after all. Glad to see it’s working here in San Jose.
Do you have “last mile” issues with using transit? If there were a bike share bike available, would you take it to work, school, entertainment or to do errands?