Author Topic: Re: Wondering about Amtrak's rules & handling of bikes  (Read 2607 times)

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Offline nobachi2000

Re: Wondering about Amtrak's rules & handling of bikes
« on: July 29, 2009, 02:59:46 am »
This is an old topic but because it was more than 120 day old. I was told to bring it up as new.  This is a comment about Amtrak on my recent trip from San Luis Obispo to Salinas, CA.  I was planning to take the Coast Starlight back from Salinas to Los Angeles, but I found out that they don't accept bicycles.  I exchanged my original ticket for another one for a minimal charge to take an Amtrak Bus from Salinas to Santa Barbara and then transferred to the Pacific Coastliner which accepts bicycles.  I never had to take apart my bicycle for the Amtrak Bus but the bicycle had to lie down on the side.  I only had a bicycle rack on the back, but I'm thinking of changing the rack to pannier holders.  Do I need to remove them if my bicycle lies on the side?
One pedal at a time

Offline whittierider

Re: Wondering about Amtrak's rules & handling of bikes
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2009, 04:57:42 am »
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This is an old topic but because it was more than 120 day old. I was told to bring it up as new.
It's better to add to the old so we can see what was already discussed and not clutter the forum with needless repetition.

I didn't know you could take the bike on the Amtrak bus.  I know Greyhound says the bike is too big (unless it's foldable or S&S).  Did you have to box it?  I was just up there last week, but not on a bus or train.

Offline aggie

Re: Wondering about Amtrak's rules & handling of bikes
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2009, 10:43:55 am »
I've put my bike on the Coast Starlight.  It is possible that you got someone that didn't want to load it in baggage. Amtrak sells the box and it is my understanding from the ticket agent (phone) that any station that handles baggage will put a boxed bike in baggage.  You should call Amtrak's 800 number and let them know the difficulties you had in Salinas.  Hopefully you have the name of the agent that told you they don't take bicycles.

Offline whittierider

Re: Wondering about Amtrak's rules & handling of bikes
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2009, 07:20:10 pm »
I've even put our tandem in the baggage room in Amtrak trains, with no box.  Maybe the first time the person in charge didn't know the procedure and they just let me wheel it in, set the drag brake as a parking brake, and bungee-cord the stoker bars to the vertical stainless-steel tube holding up the shelves, then after that, every time they gave me even the slightest trouble, I'd just tell them I've done it many times before and it works out really well, and they'd basically say something to the effect of "then go right ahead if you know what to do."  It was easy for all involved and they didn't mind a bit.  I've done this many times.  It has been my understanding that for many years they've been barely able to keep going even with federal subsidy, and they don't like to turn away customers.

Offline dcmoynihan

Re: Wondering about Amtrak's rules & handling of bikes
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2009, 01:39:01 pm »
As usual, West Coast is (a) more accommodating to cyclists and (b) less stringent about 'policy.  I've found that East Coast AMTRAK travel is far less hassle-free.  Only two routes on coastal states even offer bike racks and there are very few stations that have checked baggage operations, so boxing isn't even viable.
If others have had better experiences, I'd love to learn from you.

Offline juswalkin

Re: Wondering about Amtrak's rules & handling of bikes
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2009, 12:08:05 pm »
Last year I got on the train in Salinas and had to box the bike at the station and got off in San Luis Obispo. No problem. This year I wanted to go to Sacramento  and not box it and not transfer, so I got on the train in Bakersfield. I bought my ticket on the internet and it said there were three bikes allowed per car,  but I wanted to make sure about traveling with a bike so I called the 800 number and talked with a person that told me that the train I was taking didn't take bikes not in a box and checked. I drove to San Luis Obispo and bought a box to make sure that I had one and got a friend to take me to Bakersfield to catch the train. I was putting the bike in the box in the parking lot at 6:30 in the morning when the lady that runs the station walks by and comments that she hates bikes in boxes because she is the one that has to load it in the train and it is easer if I would just roll it on and use the bike rack.  Witch is what I did. Even talking to a person at the 800 number doesn't get you the correct info.

Offline whittierider

Re: Wondering about Amtrak's rules & handling of bikes
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2009, 03:10:38 pm »
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Even talking to a person at the 800 number doesn't get you the correct info.
That has been my experience with Amtrak too.