On Caltrain this AM I saw a man come rambling into the bike car with his camera, snapping pictures of the bike configuration. The SFBC had been taking some photos to show full bike cars on trains with low passenger loads, but I didn't recognize the guy and the car was half empty. No, the capacity problem isn't gone, it was raining and I slept in and was taking a local.
Anyway, it was pretty obvious to me what was up. I walked up to him and said "you are from Europe?". He answered "Italy". Europe has us bested for transit, especially trains, but every Euro who sees Caltrain's setup loves it, I've seen 10 or so take pictures over the years. He said "in Italy this would be impossible" (I love how the Euros use the word impossible). I have actually taken a bike around Europe on trains and it isn't as nice. Most trains you had to box them and hope you don't get yelled at. Some had a "bike car" which was a big freight car with a high entrance door and no seats.
Maybe we need to get a Milano newspaper to do a story on Caltrain's bike car.
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