Amtrak, DRPT bring pilot program allowing passengers to bring bikes on trains to Richmond

Amtrak, DRPT bring pilot program allowing passengers to bring bikes on trains to Richmond

The pilot program will allow the current bicycle and baggage service between Newport News and Boston on the Amtrak Northeast Regional train to be provided at Main Street Station, offering a new, safe, and direct option to cyclists riding the Virginia Capital Trail between Richmond and Williamsburg.

Photo: Virginia Bicycling Federation

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) is teaming up with Amtrak beginning Friday, May 18th to, for the first time, allow passengers to reserve and board their bicycles at downtown Richmond’s Main Street Station.

The pilot program will allow the current bicycle and baggage service between Newport News and Boston on the Amtrak Northeast Regional train to be provided at Main Street Station, offering a new, safe, and direct option to cyclists riding the Virginia Capital Trail between Richmond and Williamsburg, as well as direct access to the amenities and attractions near both cities.

The announcement comes amid national recognition of May as National Bike Month, as well as Virginia’s own celebration of Bike to Work Week May 14th – May 18th, and Bike to Work Day, also on Friday, May 18th.

In addition to the current bicycle and baggage service on the route, as well as Capital Trail Access, Richmond-Main Street Station also provides direct and convenient access to multi-modal transportation connections in downtown Richmond, including the Greater Richmond Transit Company’s new Bus Rapid Transit system, The Pulse, which begins service June 24th and will also accommodate bikes.

“The Commonwealth is proud to offer this new service to our passenger rail customers in Virginia,” said DRPT Director Jennifer Mitchell in a statement. “Bicycle service at Main Street Station will provide safer and easier access to the Capital Trail and of Virginia’s great cultural and historic attractions. We are confident this pilot program will build off the success of the Capital Trail, which has positively contributed to the local economies along its route.”

Bicycle reservation fees are $20 in addition to normal ticketed fares. The pilot program is currently limited to travel between Richmond-Main Street station and other staffed Amtrak stations in Virginia along the Newport News to Washington, D.C. state-sponsored corridor. The pilot will conclude in October. DRPT will evaluate its success throughout to determine if year-round operation and connectivity to other stations north of Washington, D.C. is feasible.

The pilot extension service will not affect current arrival and departure schedules along the route. Space is limited to six bicycles in each direction. Customers must reserve in advance by booking online.

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