Steph Loves Bikes: Integrating Bike and Transit (Copenhagen)

Our co-director, Steph Nappa, is writing this series to share her experiences and lessons learned from her study abroad in Europe. You can also follow along on Instagram with #stephlovesbikes.

The train cars with bike racks are clearly marked on the outside of the train.

The train cars with bike racks are clearly marked on the outside of the train.

Copenhagen has several transit options, the Metro, the S-train, and buses that operate in the city. The S-train is the most expansive in terms of serving the greater region, with lines running out to several suburbs. While this is great on its own, LiveMove has discussed on multiple occasions the need to better connect transit to a person’s place of work or their residence. Bikes offer a great way to do this, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that Copenhagen has established ways to take bikes on the S-train.

Each train has at least two cars that are designated for bikes, with an entire row of spaces to secure a bike wheel and seats on the opposite wall to sit down. We took advantage of this option when we visited the headquarters of the Capitol Region, the regional government organization that serves the greater Copenhagen area. We were able to bike to the station from our hostel, hop on the train with our bikes, relax for the 30 minute trip, and then bike from the station in Hillerød to the headquarters office. Everything was fairly seamless, though with so many of us the bike racks on the train did get full. I can definitely see how during rush hour it may be difficult to find space for yourself and your bike.

We discussed this transportation system integration with Helen, a senior consultant for Regional Development who spoke with us about the Capitol Region’s work on biking infrastructure. She told us that originally, it cost extra to bring a bike on the S-train. Then, they tested out allowing people to bring their bikes for free and overall ridership noticibly increased. To me, this just reemphasizes the need for transportation integration. Not every person can both live and work right next to transit lines, so having an easy and efficient way to connect those locations is key. However, because bringing a bike on the S-train is so simple, the demand has started to hinder usability. I wonder if there are any plans to lengthen the trains and add an extra bike car or two.