Friday, April 10, 2009

Greening Caltrain - Destination Tag Give-away

A question that is frequently asked on Caltrain's bike car - "Where do you get one of those yellow tags". The tags referred to are destination tags that you hang on your bike to indicate what stop you will be getting off at. The bikes are stacked in a rack one on top of the other, so the tags allow cyclists to organize their bikes and not block in someone who needs to get off before them.

Anyway, the correct answer today for "where do you get a yellow tag" is "You don't". Caltrain has stopped producing the yellow vinyl bike tags. The reason is pretty much "cost" - I have been told they cost on the order of a dollar a piece to make, and in many cases they don't have a longer shelf life than the second most popular option - handwritten notes on whatever flyer is sitting in the Caltrain "Take One" slots in the bike car.

Amusingly, at the JPB meeting where someone from Caltrain mentioned that they would no longer be producing the tags, in addition to mentioning cost she said "We're trying to be more green and the tags were made of plastic". So is the tupperware I use to bring my lunch in, but since I use that indefinitely, it's more green than endless numbers of paper bags. But I digress.

Caltrain has put up a replica online for people to print out. "2. Print the 8.5” X 11” document on bright yellow paper or use color printer." Really, you don't need to put color paper into your printer or waste your colored toner - white will work. But here's another option.

From the SFBC's Bikes On Board project.

Hello Cyclist,

Destination Tag Give-away
Great news! SFBC's BIKES ONboard project will be distributing green
destination tags to Caltrain bike customers. Every bike needs a
destination tag to smooth on- and off- boarding in the bike car, and
Caltrain has stopped providing the yellow vinyl tags.

SFBC tags are green, because cyclists do the most to "green" Caltrain
cyclists don't use cars or buses or shuttles at either end of their
commutes. Caltrain's parking lots and shuttles are heavily subsidized, so
cyclists not only 'green' Caltrain, they also save Caltrain money.

Look for volunteers distributing the tags, or stop by the SFBC office to
pick one up (995 Market St., Suite 1550). Or, you can print your own:

Of course if you don't come pick one up, you don't get the lanyard and name holder :)

One nice advantage to the system SFBC is passing out is that if you - like me - use many stations, you can flip the cards in the name badge lanyard in order to change the stations as needed.

Once upon a time I saw a photo of a tag where someone had solved this problem by putting a spinner on an old compact disc. Anyone?

Another useful bike tag hack by kwc.

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