Chesterton Tribune



NICTD board told: Lots of room on weekend trains for bikes

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Dunelanders who’ve 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 up.”

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 Cars

Meanwhile, NICTD’s 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.”

On-Time Performance

The now completed universal crossover project--as predicted--had a fairly noticeable negative impact on NICTD’s on-time performance.

For the first half of the year, 84.7 percent of weekday peak trains were on time (90.0 percent in the year-ago period); 73.9 percent of weekday off-peak trains were on time, (86.8 percent year-ago); and 75.4 percent of weekend trains were on time (87.8 percent year-ago).

All told, 77.8 percent of trains through June were on time (87.8 percent year-ago).


Posted 8/1/2016






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