Folding Bikes on Metro

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    I started commuting to Rockville from DC and bought a Brompton because of the Metro train ban on bikes during peak hours. I’ve been hassled occasionally by station agents/managers when rolling my bike through the station (telling me to fold it) and usually when I reply the bike is too heavy to carry, they tend to leave me alone. I hold it once in the train (my trains are usually pretty empty because I am on the reverse commute).

    This morning I started having a bit of a twitter war with WMATA (DC Metro) over folding bikes. This morning I was forced to fold and carry my bike to walk through the station to get to the platform. Seriously. Yet, double-wide strollers and rolling luggage (even the really big ones) can easily be rolled on their wheels through the station. Would they force parents to fold and carry their strollers? No, because that’d be silly and yet they want to force me to carry my Brompton (I didn’t get titanium so not really that light) when I could easily roll it and fold it in my empty, reverse-commute car like I always do. Rules for the sake of rules are a pet peeve of mine. Granted, my right arm is developing a nice little muscle from all of the Brompton carrying…

    I received this PM from them:

    Hi Yasmeen,

    Thank you for your messages. I apologize for any inconvenience caused by our bike policy.

    Our policy states that “during peak periods, folding bicycles must remain folded and securely fastened while traveling through the system.”

    I apologize if this policy has not been consistently enforced by station managers, as I understand that can cause some confusion about what is permissible.

    I will reach out to Metro Transit Police to clarify if this applies to bicycles in the station, rather than just on the train.

    Thank you,


    Anyone else taking Metro trains with a folding bike? I feel very strongly the language is at best ambiguous (what is considered “the system”) and if that does include the stations, that’s an unreasonable rule that should change.


    Yeah, the bike rules on WMATA are BS. It all depends on the level of caring by the station manager (usually meh but not always).

    BART in San Francisco takes a different approach, allowing bikes at all times so long as riders do not try to put them on crowded trains “Regardless of any other rule, kayaks (or bikes) are never allowed on crowded cars. Use your good judgment and only board cars that can comfortably accommodate you and your boat (or bike).” Relying riders’ judgment is a good approach because a flat out ban does not account for less than crowded cars. They even allow kayaks during all hours, restricting them to the last car during peak hours


    If I understand you correctly, you aren’t folding your bike down and rolling it on the roller wheels. Is that correct? Does your Brompton not have roller wheels on it when you fold it? If not, have you considered having those added?

    I’ve always had mine folded when I’ve taken my Brommie on the Metro during peak hours, and have never been hassled for rolling it on the roller wheels while in the folded state.

    Unrelated, but I was hassled once (in 2014) because the station attendant insisted that I needed to have it folded AND in a bag, but I told her that the rule was changed per their site (in 2012). I also made a printout of that page and put it in my bag in case another attendant says the same:


    What’s “Metro” ??


    I usually pull mine around by the mini wheels on the fender in this position:


    I got the bike cover and saddle bag when I bought the bike from Tim at Bikes@Vienna. If I have to transit a fancy lobby, or something, I’ll cover the bike and pull it. If it’s a really fancy situation, I’ll fold it completely, cover it, and walk in like I own the place.

    I find the stock wheels a little small and wobbly, so I’ll probably buy some aftermarket Eazy Wheels (or something even more trick) one day when I’m feeling impulsive.


    Crazy to have station managers nitpicking over this while seemingly ignoring actual, you know, crimes in their stations…


    Thanks, @drevil. I’m going to print that out and keep it on my bike. I’m sure some cranky station manager will hassle me someday (if he/she accidentally wakes up).


    @drevil 179226 wrote:

    I also made a printout of that page and put it in my bag in case another attendant says the same:

    Thanks, @drevil. I’m going to print that out and keep it on my bike. I’m sure some cranky station manager will hassle me someday (if he/she accidentally wakes up).


    It’s a stupid rule, but it’s the rule. You could fight to get the rule changed, but that’s (unfortunately) probably not WMATA’s first priority. I would look for related opportunities to comment to WMATA — e.g. when they have public comment about how to increase ridership, or fares, or even schedule changes — and consistently write in with your proposed change. I bet if you searched once or twice a month for comment opportunities and had a stock letter ready to go, you could make an impact with relatively little effort. It’ll take time — possibly years.

    And join WABA, if you haven’t yet.


    Thanks! I didn’t realize this eventually posted. I got frustrated, checking for days only to not see my post (I own the Chicago bike forum and I let people post right away and keep my eye out for spam which doesn’t happen all that often).

    Ok, so back to the important issue. Yes, on a regular basis, I get hassled/yelled at by a station manager. My last one was Friday at DuPont. I’ve been told off at DuPont, Woodley, and Rockville. Sometimes they block the entrance, sometimes they pound on the glass and yell at me (last Friday in DuPont when it was completely empty due to the holiday and shutdown), and sometimes they come out to tell me off. So to answer the question about rolling: yes, mostly I roll it even though it is awkward with the tile floors. I had bad asthma in the summer so it became a physical problem for me to carry it because rolling it with those little wheels could easily tip and hard to control. Easier to put the seat on my shoulder unfolded to carry it with my whole body. Hard to carry with one hand. Luckily, with winter, my asthma got much better but it was a daily cause of stress at the station. Waiting to get yelled at, telling them I have asthma, and having them tell me they don’t care and I have to carry it “in the system”.

    My main issues: there’s no logical benefit to carrying through a station, the language “system” could be the trains so is this just a bad interpretation? Clearly they don’t trust us to fold it on the platform which is ridiculous. I am an adult, not a child. And let’s compare sizes to a double-wide stroller or a huge piece of luggage. It’s just illogical. I realize this continues because there are barely any folding bikes and I am the only woman I have seen using one. This rule is built for men and seems to be written to discourage, not encourage use of the bike. I am reverse commute so my bike isn’t bothering anyone on a nearly empty train car. Ok, this is a bit of a rant but when I get into the argument, asking them for a logical reason I have to fold it BEFORE going through the fare gate, the consistent response I get back is that bikes aren’t allowed. When I say, yes they are, folding bikes are allowed, it’s just not reasonable to expect us to carry it to the platform. Always met with, just fold it (and basically, shut up).

    And yes, I did join WABA when I first got to D.C.


    @Yasmeen 184509 wrote:

    Thanks! I didn’t realize this eventually posted. I got frustrated, checking for days only to not see my post (I own the Chicago bike forum and I let people post right away and keep my eye out for spam which doesn’t happen all that often).

    Alas, that used to be the rule here–until bots discovered the forum and started posting literally hundreds of spams every night.

    The good news is, the delay only occurs with first-time posters. Now that one of your posts has been approved, none of your others will be held up.


    Try WMATA Contact Metro form, not Twitter or station managers. I had better luck with them in the past. Station managers can’t change policy, and it seems they don’t forward such issues to the management. Make sure that you mention how it’s different for women, and how station managers interpret the rules. The management might issue an update to station managers that help people in your situation.

    Also, regarding Asthma, you might want check the Mucus-less diet, which helps makes the mucus more water-like(less viscous) and less dense as opposed to honey-like. Check this link, and scroll to the food list. Basically, the more you avoid red meat and diary, the thinner your mucus and your blood will be, you would have less congestion, breath easier, and your blood pressure would get lower since it’s easier for the heart to pump thinner fluids. I have tried it loosely for a time and it worked for me.


    Looks like this will no longer be an issue:


    Starting next week, Metro customers will be able to bring their bikes with them on the train – at any time – as Metro ends a longstanding restriction that prohibited bicycles during rush hours.

    The policy change, which takes effect Monday, is expected to make Metrorail a more attractive travel option for reverse commuters (i.e. customers traveling outbound in the morning and inbound in the evening) who want to take their bike to travel between the rail station and their workplace.

    Metro reviewed its policy and determined that it could respond to requests from the bicycling community by ending the rush-hour bike restriction without significant negative effects. The review took into account that the majority of rush-hour trains are 8 cars in length (the longest possible), and that new 7000-series trains provide more open space.

    “We received requests from Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) and others in the bicycle community asking us to take a fresh look at our policy,” said Metro Chief Operating Officer Joe Leader. “We believe this change supports ridership growth by Metro a commuting option for those who want to have a bike with them.”

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