which is it Metro?

Wednesday, June 23, 2004, at 09:52AM

By Eric Richardson

I was just cleaning up my desk some and found a nice glossy bookmark-shaped "Metro Rail Bike Hours" card that Metro employees were handing out on Bike to Work day. When they handed me the card I didn't even look at it, since I'd read their Metro Bikes page online and ridden with my bike plenty of times before. Running across it just now, though, I took a look and found it very confusing.

bike diagramFirst, the back of the card includes a "Bike Location Diagram" to help you understand where on the car you can ride with your bicycle. That's good. The first couple times I rode it took a bit to get the hang of where it was I needed to be going, especially on the Gold Line, where the open space is directly next to the driver doors. But look at the diagram. What is that? Are they trying to tell me that bike positioning is the same of the Red and Gold lines? Those cars are very different. On the Red Line a car might look like (excuse my poor ascii art):

[|||   ||||||||||   |||]
[|||   ||||||||||   |||]

A couple rows of seats, open space, more seats, open space, and a final few rows. A Gold Line car on the other hand looks like:

[-   |||||||  -^^-  |||||||   -]
[-   |||||||  -vv-  |||||||   -]

The area in the middle is pretty narrow where the car articulates. The proper place to have a bike is to sit in one of the end seats with the bike across the driver door. Obviously that rules out the front of the front car, but since they run generally two car trains on the Gold Line that leaves you with the back of the front car, and both front and back of the back car.

How you're supposed to infer any of that from the diagram they give you, I have no idea.

Secondly, on the front of the card is a chart of the hours you can't take a bike on rail. Basically it's during rush hours in the commute direction, and you can see the chart at the aforementioned Metro Bikes page. Unlike the bikes page, though, the card puts the bi-drectional arrows on Gold Line as well, making it appear that no bikes can go on the Gold Line between 6:30 - 8:30 and 4:30 - 6:30. That's simply incorrect, and has to be a graphical mistake on their part.

In summary, the card was a good thought gone wrong.