By Will Reisman, @WillReisman

With two rail cars reserved for bike storage on every train, Caltrain is a great way for cyclists to commute to various points along the San Francisco Peninsula.
However, like any other crowded public space, the bikes aboard Caltrain are not immune to acts of thievery, as some passengers have unfortunately discovered.
Cyclists are encouraged to sit or stand as near as possible to their bikes at all times. That can be difficult, however, particularly now with ridership skyrocketing on Caltrain. For those passengers who cannot be near their bikes, Caltrain offers the following protection tips:

  • Immediately report any suspicious people or activities on or near the bike cars by calling 1.877.723.7245.
  • Notify a conductor as soon as possible.
  • Record the bike’s serial number, take photos of the bike and note any identifying markings in case of theft.
  • Rent a bike locker at a Caltrain station, or, if travelling from San Francisco, use the bike storage facility at the 4th and King Station.
  • Caltrain strongly discourages locking up bikes while they’re on the trains. Locking up bikes impedes access for other cyclists, slows down the boarding process, and could result in bikes being left stranded on board, if the owners forget their keys or lock combinations.

To meet the demands of its growing ridership, Caltrain embarked on a $300,000 project in 2011 to increase bike storage capacity on its trains. Every train is now outfitted with two cars for cyclists, meaning Caltrain’s Gallery fleet can carry up to 80 bikes on each trip, while its Bombardier fleet can hold 48. The 2011 project culminated a 50 percent increase of bike storage capacity since 2008. Currently, 70 percent of the Caltrain fleet is capable of carrying 80 bikes per trip.
Caltrain’s bike-riding passengers are an essential part to the system’s ridership, and the agency is committed to maintaining as safe and secure environment as possible for its cyclists.


  1. On any given train, half the people sitting in the bike car did not bring bikes. Are they potential thieves? Or just enabling thieves by taking up the seats that allow bicyclists to watch their bikes? There has to be a better solution than just letting bikes get stolen, then calling the police after the fact. If Caltrain cannot more enthusiastically encourage non-bike people to sit in other cars, how about surveillance cameras?

  2. Through Caltrain’s See Something – Say Something campaign, bicycle awareness communications and other activities, we are attempting to increase vigilance regarding bicycles. While we encourage passengers without bicycles to look for open seating in other cars, by law we cannot actively prevent them from sitting in a designated bicycle car. We are working with Caltrain Transit Police to find new solutions for addressing onboard bicycle theft.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

    Jayme Ackemann
    Communications Manager, Caltrain

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