Tri-Rail has rolled out its first bike car.
By the end of the year, the commuter train will have 10 cars dedicated for bicycles. The first one was added to Tri-Rail’s fleet last Friday, offering a sneak preview of what bike commuters can look forward to.
“People are going to be excited about it. They’ve been asking for it for a long time,’’ said Tri-Rail spokesman Bonnie Arnold.
The new bike car contains 14 racks on one side to allow more room to maneuver bikes on and off the train. The other side of the car will have about 20 seats.
The bike cars are being added to the traditional three-car set, making it a four-set train with additional seating. It is marked with a large bicycle symbol on the outside of the car and makes two runs per day for now.
The other nine bike cars will make two to four runs per day.
Passengers can continue to bring bicycles on board but they still will be limited to two bike straps per car, a limit that high demand made impossible to meet, said Arnold.
“The increase in the number of bikes on a Tri-Rail train is astonishing,’’ said Arnold, who said the heaviest concentration of bike commuters is between Pompano Beach and Deerfield Beach in northern Broward County.
“I have seen conductors ask bike riders to wait for the next train because there’s no room.’’
Jesse Bailey, a real estate analyst who runs the Walkable West Palm Beach blog, praised Tri-Rail for adding the bike cars.
“A lot of folks who take Tri-Rail don’t own cars and they rely on other modes of transportation, like bikes,” he said.
“Often the problem with mass transit and Tri-Rail, you arrive at the station but you still need to get to that final destination. This will help make that more seamless.’’