Surfers get wish for board space on Metrolink

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LOS ANGELES — To the cry of "All Aboard!" you can add "Surf's Up!" as Metrolink now accommodates surfboards on all of its trains.

After yielding to public requests to change its policies, Metrolink modified its bicycle cars to include mesh-wrapped carriers that can handle up to five boards on a first-come, first-served basis. The cars can still carry up to six bikes as well.

“This is a natural step for our service in making train travel a more convenient mode of transportation,” Metrolink Board Chair Andrew Kotyuk says. “People have consistently taken our trains to the beach, while avoiding the congested freeways."

The Orange Country Register cites the efforts of then-11-year-old surfer Ian Hughes of Riverside, Calif., who thought it was unfair Metrolink allowed bikes but not surfboards on trains. With the encouragement of his father, he began writing to Metrolink and elected officials.

He soon caught the attention of state Sen. Richard Roth of Riverside and Borja Leon, an avid surfer who happened to be Los Angeles Mayor Gil Garcetti's director of transportation and an alternate on the Metrolink Board of Directors. They both lobbied for the policy change approved two years ago.

“It’s funny, but when I began there was a bit of frustration, saying, ‘Oh, I’ll have my driver license by the time this happens, I won’t need to take the train,’ and of course that’s what happened,” Hughes, now 16, tells the Register. He got his license in November.

There are, of course, restrictions. Boards can't be longer than 6 feet 4 inches, must be in a sealed bag or carrying case and can't block aisles or doors. The storage netting requires boards to be stacked and secured by a fastening strap.

"It’ll be a breeze to take your surfboards onto Orange County and Inland Empire-Orange County line trains down to San Clemente Pier and Oceanside North Strand beaches," Metrolink says on its website.

The bike-board cars began operating on May 6. Additional information on the new service and the bike-board cars is available on Metrolink's website.

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