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February 6, 2008 > New electronic bike lockers at BART

New electronic bike lockers at BART

Submitted By James K. Allison

BART riders will have the opportunity to store their bicycles in new electronic lockers for just three cents an hour thanks to a vote on Jan. 24 by the BART Board of Directors. The Board voted unanimously to set the fee for BART-owned "e-lockers," which are coming to eight BART stations this year. Unlike old-fashioned key lockers, which provide just one key for one renter, a single e-locker could be rented by as many as five cyclists in one week by using smart card technology. The improved efficiency should mean greater availability.

"The new e-lockers should make it easier for people to bike to BART," said BART Board President Gail Murray. "It's another step BART is taking to encourage commuters to kick the 'car habit.'"

Here's how the e-lockers work: a cyclist purchases a smart card online for $20. The cyclist then uses the card to open an available locker at a BART station by sliding the card into a computerized reader. The cyclist is charged three cents an hour while their card is renting the locker. Once the cyclist returns to the locker and inserts the smart card, she can remove her bicycle and her rental fee is deducted from her card balance. Cards are available at www.bikelink.org.

The 1,006 key lockers now at BART stations will eventually be phased out. They are rented on a yearly or quarterly basis. The fee for renting a key locker is $40 per year at stations where e-lockers are also available and $30 a year at stations where key lockers are the only locker option.

BART riders at four stations (19th Street, Pleasant Hill, El Cerrito Plaza and near Oakland City Center/12th Street) can already use city-owned e-lockers that are operated by outside entities. BART will install 198 of its own e-lockers at eight additional stations by July and 220 e-lockers at 12 additional stations in 2009.Hayward, Union City and Fremont BART stations are slated to get e-lockers in 2009. By 2012, BART hopes to have 895 e-lockers available.

Money to pay for phase one of the installation is coming from several sources: the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority's Measure B bicycle funds, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District's Transportation Fund for Clean Air and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's Safe Routes to Transit Program. BART is contributing 20 percent of the cost by using money car drivers pay to park at BART stations.

The new e-lockers and the old-style key lockers represent just two ways cyclists can bike to BART. BART also offers hundreds of bicycle racks where riders can lock their bikes for free. Three stations (Embarcadero, Fruitvale and Downtown Berkeley) also offer free attended bike parking, where cyclists can leave their bicycles with an attendant.

Of course, cyclists can bring their bicycles on most BART trains. Folding bicycles are always allowed on trains while other bikes are permitted on most trains except those highlighted in the BART schedule. Generally, non-folding bikes are not permitted during the busy rush hours.

For a list of bike rules, and for more information about the new e-lockers, visit www.BART.gov.

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