(Photos by Jim “K’Tesh” Parsons)
TriMet has spent just over $79 million on 18 new MAX trains that will run on the Orange Line when it opens in September. If you board the new “Type 5″ trains with a bike, you’ll notice that they differ in some key ways.
Yesterday TriMet gave a few lucky folks a chance to step inside and get a closer look. Our correspondent Jim Parsons was one of them.
“It’s much roomier,” was his first impression. Having more breathing room is a plus for bike-toting passengers.
Beyond that, the biggest change Parsons noticed was that the wheel hook used to hang bicycles is lower compared to the existing Type 4 trains. That has pros and cons. “The lower hooks are better for people who have a hard time lifting the bike as high,” Parsons said, “but it’s not good for longer bikes and bikes with fenders and mud flaps might hit the ground.” He also noticed that the way the new hook is aligned means fatter-tired bikes might have a hard time squeezing onto the hook.
Here are a few more images of other bikes to show the hook and ground clearance and overall context of the bike storage area:
Another improvement in the new trains has to do with security. In the older Type 4 trains, seats in what TriMet refers to as the “parlor cab” — the area at the end of each train — faced away from the entry doors. That meant if you hung your bike on the hook and found a free seat in the parlor section, you couldn’t easily keep an eye on your bike (and yes, people do get bikes stolen off the hooks).
In the new trains, TriMet has changed that so now almost all the seats (20 out of 22) face the doors and the bike hook area. Here’s a TriMet graphic showing the new arrangement:
We also asked TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch if the Type 5 trains had any other bike-specific improvements. She pointed out that the Orange Line expansion itself is a bonus: “The more we expand our system and put more service on the street,” she explained, “the more space for bicyclists [on the road].”
In addition, Fetsch pointed out that the new trains have more room and more seats — 372 maximum capacity versus 344 on the Type 4 trains. That means when things are crowded, and the hooks are full, there will be more room to stand with your bike if necessary.
Learn more about the new trains at TriMet.org/newMAX
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