Bikes on Transit & Bridges
Taking your bicycle on public transit is a great way to extend your trip. Many people bike to a subway or train station as the beginning mile of their commute. But whether you lock your bike at the station, or can take it with you on the train or bus, depends on the transit system and time of day. Here are the rules.
Most public transportation agencies in our region will welcome your bicycle. However, there are many time and capacity restrictions.
- Regional Rail: Bikes are prohibited on weekday trains arriving at 30th Street, Market East, or Suburban Stations between 6:00 – 9:30 AM, and prohibited on weekday trains departing those Philadelphia stations between 4:00-6:30 PM.
- Subway-Elevated and Rt. 100: No bikes between 6-9 AM and 3-6 PM.
- Bus: All buses have bike racks. Full size bicycles are not allowed inside buses. Here’s how you use those front-mounted bus racks.
- Trolleys: No full size bicycles permitted at any time.
- Note: folding bikes are permitted on all vehicles, but crowding may restrict their acceptance.
- Rail : 2 bikes per car. Bikes are allowed at all times on the Atlantic City Line and the RiverLINE. There are time and holiday restrictions on the Northeast Corridor Line (see here for full list). Folding bikes allowed at all times
- Bus: Local buses have bike racks, while long distance buses store bikes in the luggage compartment. No bikes, including folding bikes, are allowed inside buses.
- 2 bikes per car, no time restrictions except during times of special construction projects.
- Hold bikes in doorways on the non-platform side of the train.
- Folding bikes allowed at all times
- Amtrak has a program that allows unboxed bicycles on select Amtrak Trains for a fee. We expect that additional trains will allow bikes in the future, as new Amtrak equipment is designed & purchased.
- Folding bikes are allowed in lieu of one piece of luggage
- Many rail transit stations have bicycle parking of varying quality. Contact the appropriate transit agency for details, or ask the community on our Biking the Suburbs Facebook group.
Every SEPTA bus is equipped with a front rack that can carry two bicycles. These racks can be intimidating to use, but we partnered with SEPTA on a video showing how to quickly load your bicycle.
It can also be intimidating to share streets with buses. SEPTA is aware of bicyclists’ concerns about sharing streets with buses, and they produced a video addressing the issue.
Bus-Related Tips for Bicycling in Philadelphia
- Alter your route to ride streets with fewer or no bus lines.
- Pass buses on the left (using hand signals to signal your lane change) so you do not pass between the bus and the curb.
- Alternatively, take the lane and ride behind a bus, using it as your “lead blocker.” You may not be as fast, but you will not have to worry about drivers harassing you or trying to squeeze past because there’s a bus right there.
SEPTA’s “Bike & Ride” rules are listed here. These rules describe where & when bicycles are allowed on the various modes of SEPTA’s network.
If you are prevented from taking your bicycle on SEPTA, correctly or incorrectly, we encourage you to report the issue to SEPTA Customer Service (on the web or on Twitter). The more times they hear about insufficient capacity for riders with bicycles, the higher bicycle access will be on their list of future issues to address.
Only a handful of bridges that cross the Delaware River allow bicycles and pedestrians. This limited access has been a topic of our policy recommendations. These are the bridges which allow bicycles or pedestrians to cross:
Ben Franklin Bridge
- Walkway open to bicycles and pedestrians 6AM – 8PM; open until 9PM from May-September.
- During inclement weather, the bridge walkway may be closed. Follow @DRPA on Twitter for bridge updates
Tacony Palmyra Bridge
- The sidewalk is open 24 hours weather permitting.
- You are required to walk your bicycle across.
Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (Trenton and farther north)
- Most bridges require you to walk across.
- Bicycles and pedestrians not allowed on Lower Trenton (US-1), Scudder Falls (I-95) and US 202 Bridges.
Summer 2014 | We have reached out to SEPTA many times since the 1990s over its restrictions on carrying bicycles. In 2010 we were able to negotiate a change to their policy, upping the cap on regional rail from two bikes per train to two bikes per car. The current planning and customer service staff at SEPTA is the most responsive staff we’ve ever worked with. But they have made it clear that they won’t talk about capacity increases on regional rail with the present seating configurations.
That being said, SEPTA is looking at improving access to buses and trains. SEPTA is partnering with Drexel School of Engineering students to design train cars with universal access in mind (disabled, bicycle, strollers etc.). Between this program and our current level of cooperation, the next generation of rail cars will almost certainly be more bike accessible than any of the current vehicles.
On SEPTA’s subways, a more immediate seat reconfiguration is being planned for the Market Frankford El which will make it easier to take your bike on board. SEPTA will be testing various seat configurations and, if successful, may result in the scaling back or elimination of the rush hour restrictions.