Friday, March 13, 2009

Tracking Caltrain's bike car usage

Caltrain said they would try to always schedule two bike cars on certain trains, but they have no way to monitor how effective this setup is. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Caltrain Bikes On Board project is working on a web-based interface for commuters to monitor this effectives, but why not just use what's already available?

These are the northbound "2 bike car" train statuses (statii?) and here are the southbound "2 bike car" trains statuses. Easy as pie. I search on Tweets to @bikecar and filter on the train numbers that Caltrain says should be two bike cars.

This is far from a complete list because Ravi's "@bikecar" project needs more volunteers. Perhaps SFBC Bikes On Board can encourage participation in this useful service? The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition also wants to measure Caltrain's performance on the 2 bike cars. Click here to learn how you can participate.


  1. From SFBC -

    Hello Bike Commuters and

    Can You Spare 2 Minutes per Day to Help?
    As of March 2, Caltrain is striving to put two bike cars on specified
    trains, but they have no funding to monitor effectiveness. That's where
    you come in. We are looking for people who ride the following trains,
    which are supposed to have two bike cars every weekday:
    Northbound: 103, 135, 151, 155, 189, 197, 207, 211, 217, 231, 241, 245,
    261, 267, 275, 277, 287, 383
    Southbound: 134, 142, 154, 158, 194, 196, 210, 216, 220, 228, 230, 252,
    266, 312, 362, 372, 378, 386
    Please respond to this email if you're able to spare two minutes per day
    to tell us how many bike cars your train actually had, and we'll provide
    an easy web-based reporting method.

  2. but of course I agree about the tweets :)

  3. nice idea! i just still can't believe that we don't have two cars on the 225, 323 or 329. :(

  4. Of course tracking the tweets isn't good for post-ride reporting for those w/o Internet capable phones, but I'd still like to see Caltrain BoB encourage more use of @bikecar.

    Kit: Agreed. Are bumps NB @ Sunnyvale picking up again? I'm seeing bike car usage creep up again now that the days are getting longer.