The train station that I ride to for my morning commute is the very start of the line. So when I get on the train, there aren’t many people on board, and there are generally quite a few empty seats. Regardless of the available space, I never put my bike on one of the designated bike hooks on the train. To hang my bike, I need to flip up two seats, and I know that the train is going to fill up over the next few stops. Plus if I sit down too, then I’m effectively blocking three seats.
So I choose to stand in the doorway with my bike. It fits quite well when I turn the wheel to the side. I never block the door that opens, I shift from side to side as we approach a stop (depending which side the doors open on) so that people can still get on and off easily. This way I don’t take up any good real estate on the train.
On the train ride home, the cars are generally full when I get on. Occasionally I’ve had someone who was sitting down get up and offer me the opportunity to hang my bike up. I always politely decline, and tell them I’d rather just stand out of the way.
The other day, I could barely squeeze on to the train. Same train, same car that I take every day, but for some reason it was fuller than normal. Lots of people standing in the doorway, and I ended up holding my bike upright on the back wheel just to fit into the car. A couple of stops down the line, I look to my right and see a bike hanging on the hooks. Then I see the rider also sitting down, with his backpack and helmet on the seat beside him. So, one guy was effectively occupying four seats. Four!* It’s not the first time I’ve seen him on the train, and he consistently blocks the four seats.
Surely I can’t be the only bike commuter in Dallas that knows that many light rail trains in major metro areas throughout the country have banned bicycles on board during rush hour (cities like Chicago and Washington DC come to mind). If enough riders complain about bikes on board trains in Dallas, DART is likely to follow suit. That would really f*ck up my commute, and I don’t want that to happen. So I choose to stay as out of the way as I can. Even if it is uncomfortable to stand in my cycling shoes with giant cleats on the bottom.
* Granted, a lot of people that ride the train are large enough that they naturally occupy two seats, so there’s no guarantee that if he had been standing with his bike that four people would have actually sat down.