In the Fall of 2015, Amtrak took steps to expand its bike service via partnering with organizations within the biking community to accommodate more eco-friendly and fitness-oriented riders on some of their routes. This move was aimed at not only recruiting more customers but enhancing the overall appeal of public transportation. In an effort to facilitate this expansion, a task force was assembled to advise the transportation carrier on the needs of the biking community, as well as its importance in regards to intercity and cross-country transportation. Currently, there are three forms of bike transportation and services available on Amtrak. As the transportation giant takes steps to expand and broaden the appeal of public transportation, here are the bike services offered by Amtrak at this time:
1. Walk-Up or Checked Service–Standard adult bicycles may be stored and transported in racks, which are housed in the train’s baggage car. It is important to note that passengers cannot access these cars. Therefore, authorized Amtrak personnel will store and secure the bicycles in the racks. Riders are required to provide chains and/or locking devices for security purposes. Moreover, advance reservations are often required for this amenity. However, the conditions vary for each train. Furthermore, this option is only available at select stations, so passengers should call and/or search online ahead of time to check for its availability and conditions.
2. Walk-On Service–Standard adult bikes may be carried and stored onboard in racks on certain trains. Customers should call or search online in advance to view the availability of this option and which trains offer it. This service is offered on a first come, first-serve basis and once the racks are full, no more bikes will be allowed onboard.
3. Boxed Bikes in Checked Baggage–Bicycles may be checked on trains between all stops where the checked baggage service is available. However, it is important to note that not all trains or stations are staffed and/or able to provide this option. Therefore, riders should call and/or search online ahead of time to check for its availability. After all, passengers who are in need of this service do not want to be left in the lurch if they arrive with their bicycles and learn the service is not available at their desired boarding location or destination point.
In addition to the select availability of Amtrak’s expanded bike service, customers should also contact the transportation carrier to verify the number of spaces, whether or not a reservation is required, and any fees associated with these expanded services. All of the trains that accommodate this option differ in all of these aspects. Therefore, as the transportation giant takes steps to expand its bike service and broaden the appeal of public transportation as a whole, riders should be prepared to familiarize themselves with the changes and call ahead to check on the availability of the amenities they most desire. Preparedness is the keyword for riders as Amtrak expands its bike service, strives to appeal to more fitness and ecology-minded passengers, and focuses on bolstering its efforts to enhance the image of public transportation for the masses, as well as recruit new riders in the present and future.
Written and Edited by Leigh Haugh
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