Last month, the Maryland Transit Administration began allowing full-sized bikes on select weekend MARC trains. At the time the Sun reported
The agency's new "bike car" — capable of accommodating 16 full-sized bikes — will only be available on certain weekend Penn Line trains. Riders will notice a "bike symbol" next to those trains on MARC schedules moving forward, the MTA is expected to announce Friday.
The new bike car is a refurbished single-level car that was taken out of regular service as the system has introduced newer multi-level commuter cars.
Foldable or collapsible bikes are allowed already on weekday MARC trains on the Penn, Camden and Brunswick lines. Riders will not have to pay any additional fees to bring their bikes aboard the new car.
Depending on customer demand for the new bike car, the MTA said a second car may be added next year, also to weekend Penn Line trains.
The addition of the bike car falls short of the service expansion for bicyclists that some advocates have called on the MTA to provide for years, including on weekday trains to facilitate easier commutes between stations and riders' places of work and residences.
The addition of the bike car comes about a year after the MARC weekend service was first introduced. The MTA said ridership on weekends has grown steadily, from about 4,000 riders its first weekend in December 2013 to about 6,000 riders last weekend.
This means people in DC can take their bikes to Baltimore (or places in between) on the weekends - and vice-versa making for a great way to spend the day in either city.
It also means that the BWI/B&A Trail (both reachable from BWI station), WB&A Trail (Seabrook, Bowie State or Odenton stations), the Gwynn Falls Trail (West Baltimore station) and the Jones Falls Trail (Penn Station) can now be easily accessed without a car, which opens up a variety of options for weekend rides. [And the Metr Branch trail at DC Union Station for those from outside DC] Though it looks like some last mile work for many of these stations could better integrate the bike trail system and the Penn line.
Until gaps are closed on the East Coast Greenway, the Penn line could even work as a workable alternative.