Bikes now permitted to ride the MTA rails 6-month pilot program part of administration effort to attract riders

April 28, 1996|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

In an article Sunday, the name of state Mass Transit Administrator John A. Agro Jr. was misspelled.

The Sun regrets the error.

Baltimore area commuters who travel on light rail and Metro trains on weekdays now can take their bicycles with their briefcases and bag lunches.

Mass Transit Administration officials yesterday launched a six-month pilot program that allows cyclists to carry their bicycles on the mass transit system at all times except two hours before and after Orioles home games.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

The program is the latest during a time when commuters more often prefer to drive and when the federal government is expected to cut the mass transit system's funding.

"We want to encourage people to leave their cars at home," said MTA Administrator John A. Argo, during yesterday's ceremony at the Cromwell Light Rail Station in Glen Burnie. "Everyone benefits from mass transit less congestion or our roads, less pollution in our air."

Bicyclists already were allowed to bring their bicycles on the trains on weekends. Mr. Argo -- who had been opposed to bicycles on trains on weekdays because of safety concerns for the large volume of business commuters -- said MTA saw another opportunity to increase ridership.

"Everybody finds religion someday," Mr. Argo said during the ceremony. "To be candid with you," he said during a subsequent interview, "If there is a strong market, we're interested. We're looking for as many customers as we can find."

Regardless of the reasons for the expansion, bicycle enthusiasts are thrilled.

"I think it's a very important step," said Allen Greenberg, a member of the League of American Bicyclists who attended the ceremony.

Mr. Greenberg, who rides "a few times a week," said the program increases commuters' options throughout the week and can help bicyclists in difficult times.

"You could go ride, and if a storm comes and you get caught, you can take the light rail back," he said.

"I'm glad to see Maryland being so bicycle friendly," said Bob Moore, 61, of Baltimore. "It's absolutely wonderful."

Bicycles that cannot be dismantled and enclosed in a carrying case or folded are not allowed on MARC trains or MTA buses.

Riders carrying bicycles on MTA must observe these guidelines: You must be 18 years old or accompanied by an adult.

No more than two bicycles are permitted per wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

The bicycle must be clean and free of sharp objects.

Bicycles may not be ridden on the train, in the station or on platforms.

Cyclists assume responsibility for all injury, loss and/or damage to their bicycles.

"Talking to the bike supporters, I think that they really feel the potential for this program is enormous," said state Transportation Secretary David L. Winstead, who attended the ceremony.

"We are constantly trying to integrate our system to make it more user friendly," he said. "I think your going to see a lot more of that."

Pub Date: 4/28/96

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