been tempted to take their bicycles to Chicago aboard a South Shore train
some weekend but have decided in the end not to, fearful of there being no
room for their rides on the return train, have nothing to worry about.
At the Friday
morning’s meeting of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District’s
Board of Trustees, NICTD General Manager Michael Noland made it clear that
there hasn’t been a single instance, since the bikes-on-trains pilot program
began in April, of a bicyclist’s being either stranded in Chicago or forced
to leave his or her bike behind because the rack on the train was full.
“We’ve had plenty
of capacity,” Noland said. “This is not a situation where we’re being
overwhelmed. We’ve been able to accommodate any bike riders who’ve shown
On the return trip
too, Noland hastened to add. “We’ll be able to get you home,” he said.
A total of 14
trains run over the course of a weekend, Saturday and Sunday, and each train
has a bike-rack car with room for 26 to 46 bikes. “There’ve been way more
opportunities (for bikes) than bikes,” Noland noted.
quiet-car experiment began on July 1, Noland told the board. “The first few
weeks there were bumps, because it’s a change,” he acknowledged.
Under the pilot
program, the last car on every morning and afternoon rush-hour train has
been designated a quiet car, with conversations to be whispered and short
and cell phone use not permitted. The passengers themselves, however, are
meant to enforce those rules, not the conductors.
“We don’t want our
crews being quiet-car police,” Noland said. “There’s a difference between
educating passengers and enforcing quiet-car rules. The passengers regulate
this. It’s a peer-pressure regulated program.”
So there have been
occasions when “the peers get a little aggressive,” Noland suggested.
“There’s a certain low-level tension in every quiet-car program. The program
is finding its way. Things are smoothing out.”