LOS ANGELES, Calif.–The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is lifting its policy banning bicycles on light rail and subway cars during peak travel hours.
The MTA board also voted to spend about $1 million to remove five to six seats on Gold and Green line light rail cars to make more room for bikes.
“MTA is helping bicycles become a more viable mode of transportation in Los Angeles County,” said Dave Sotero, an MTA spokesman. “This is a progressive move.”
Sotero said the policy change is important because it helps commuters use their bikes for the “first and last miles” of their trips from home to work and back.
The Green and Gold lines have about 73,000 combined average weekday boardings. MTA is working on a report on how many of those riders bring bikes on the trains.
“Transit only takes you far,” said Alexis Lantz, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s planning and policy director. “You may have blocks or miles on either end of your trip.”
She said using buses to cover each of those ends of the trip can add 20-40 minutes, whereas biking can make that leg of the commute much faster.
Lantz, who participated in MTA’s quarterly bicycle roundtable meetings that led up to the policy change, said the move will give more people an incentive to use the transit system any time of the day and be more confident about it.
“MTA has shown a responsiveness to concerns of transit users who also use bikes,” Lantz said. “A lot of cities still have restrictions. This is one of the ways L.A. County is being a leader for others.”
But she said the LACBC still believes MTA can do more, including providing safe, well-lit bike parking at public transit stops. She said there is also a problem with bike capacity on bus lines. Buses only have space for two bikes.
“That’s not enough capacity,” she said.