Can you take bikes on replacement buses?

Isaiah

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17 Sep 2020
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England
Network Rail are doing some repairs this weekend and it is seriously messing up my journey. My question is thus: Is it possible to take a bike on a replacement bus?
 
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JohnRegular

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12 Dec 2016
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Seriously? They will cancel the train and then refuse to let me bring my bike on?

Ridiculous imo
A lot of buses just aren't equipped to carry bicycles.

Having said that, I can't help but agree in the sense that you're not being provided an equivalent service to what you've paid for. At the very least it is annoying, at worst it prevents you from making an essential journey to e.g. your workplace that you could reasonably expect to do by rail.

Given the complementary nature of bikes and trains as modes of transport, it is very frustrating, even moreso that provision for bikes on trains has reduced in many parts of the country.

A broader question I would like to pose; should fares for services replaced by buses be cheaper? I understand the railway is only really obliged to get you from A to B but as far as I'm concerned, I'm not getting the service I paid for.
 

Bletchleyite

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As a rule no. However if operated by coaches (less common these days for accessibility reasons) the driver will sometimes allow it anyway as they can go underneath.
 

Cambus731

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The railway is not actually obliged to carry bicycles. It allows people to take bicycles on its trains but isn't obliged to. Therefore on occasions when a replacement road service has to be provided, it is not under obligation to accommodate conveyance for bicycles.
 

L401CJF

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You can usually carry fold up bikes on rail replacement buses provided they can fit out of the way somewhere like a luggage rack etc.
 

lincolnshire

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Network Rail are doing some repairs this weekend and it is seriously messing up my journey. My question is thus: Is it possible to take a bike on a replacement bus?
The usual things not carried on rail replacement services are cycles, prams that don,t fold and animals, usually dogs except guide or service dogs is the ones referred to in the conditions of travel. Often been the case a word by the owner of the cycle or dog with the coach driver and maybe they will be travelling on the coach complete with cycle or dog but not always guaranteed . Its all part of the conditions of travel regulations.
I think you will also find that a cycle been carried on a train should have a label as to where its travelling from and to its destination attached to the cycle.
 

unlevel42

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A properly folding up bike like a Brompton when its in a bag is usually considered as luggage. (LU excepted?)

In South Yorkshire/Derbyshire we have had coaches, buses, service buses, trams, small buses, minibuses and taxis used as rail replacement.
How can people expect to take their full size bike on these?
 

73128

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Reading
Not normally because the vehicles are not equipped to carry them. Fold ups perhaps. It can be done with the right vehicle - Chiltern had cycle equipped buses for their Oxford Parkway to Oxford services some years back.
 

father_jack

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26 Jan 2010
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No bike should EVER be accepted on a rail replacement vehicle, the reason being the problem only arises on the return journey when someone has been given "customer service" on the outward journey contrary to the correct policy and then the driver coming back won't accept them....... I had a drama at a station once where kids with BMXs were accepted outward but then rejected return. Dad in a pickup had to drive 40 miles at night to retrieve kids and bikes. He wasn't amused as you could imagine. Easier to say no at the start.

There's one First vehicle converted for bicycle rail replacement use. Not my pic. https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/47606789361/
FIRST Bike bus 43907 T12GWR
 

DynamicSpirit

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Seriously? They will cancel the train and then refuse to let me bring my bike on?

Ridiculous imo

Frustrating - yes, definitely - speaking as someone who also sometimes needs to take my bike on trains.

Ridiculous... depends. If the notice of the cancellation on that date has been up for some weeks and was public knowledge at the time you bought your ticket, then I'd say it's hard to argue that the TOC has any kind of obligation to carry your bike, since they never agreed to provide a train on that date in the first place. If they cancelled your train after you'd bought your ticket, then I think you could argue that it's ethically unreasonable to refuse to carry your bike - but of course, in practical terms it's a bit hard to see how you could carry a bike when the buses have no capacity for them.
 

BurtonM

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Manchester
The answer is no, and it is immensely infuriating.
Once I showed up with a bike at Manchester Victoria and found 'bus' on the departure board. I'd arrived earlier that day on a train with my bike and Northern's only notice of the RRB, it transpired, was buried deep in their poorly designed website and took serious effort to find, and all that is there is a chart full of internal acronyms with no key, that is almost impossible to decipher for a layman.
Further to this, there was no publication of the RRB visible at either end station (possibly as one of them was TPE managed).
Having been confronted with a Stagecoach double decker (Stagecoach flat refuse bikes), Northern staff genuinely suggested to me that I lock my bike up in central Manchester, and board the RRB without it, then return at some other point to retrieve it - they failed to see how this was at all an issue?! I very politely told them that wouldn't be happening. Mercifully there was also a coach running with a nice driver so I got home anyway.

IMO as the train would have had a cycle space (all Northern trains do, right?), I believe that any replacement service should be of equal quality and alternative transport and/or a refund should be offered if the railway is unable to carry you. They say bikes are carried on a discretionary basis - well I'd argue that said discretion is the provision of a freely available cycle space on the train? If I pay for a level of service that includes a provision to carry cycles, then any alternative transport should also have such provisions.
 

Robertj21a

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The answer is no, and it is immensely infuriating.
Once I showed up with a bike at Manchester Victoria and found 'bus' on the departure board. I'd arrived earlier that day on a train with my bike and Northern's only notice of the RRB, it transpired, was buried deep in their poorly designed website and took serious effort to find, and all that is there is a chart full of internal acronyms with no key, that is almost impossible to decipher for a layman.
Further to this, there was no publication of the RRB visible at either end station (possibly as one of them was TPE managed).
Having been confronted with a Stagecoach double decker (Stagecoach flat refuse bikes), Northern staff genuinely suggested to me that I lock my bike up in central Manchester, and board the RRB without it, then return at some other point to retrieve it - they failed to see how this was at all an issue?! I very politely told them that wouldn't be happening. Mercifully there was also a coach running with a nice driver so I got home anyway.

IMO as the train would have had a cycle space (all Northern trains do, right?), I believe that any replacement service should be of equal quality and alternative transport and/or a refund should be offered if the railway is unable to carry you. They say bikes are carried on a discretionary basis - well I'd argue that said discretion is the provision of a freely available cycle space on the train? If I pay for a level of service that includes a provision to carry cycles, then any alternative transport should also have such provisions.
It's simply not possible for buses to safely carry bikes. So what do you expect from the rail operator?
 

charley_17/7

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Ironically in Brighton we have buses on which you can take bikes, but if the same vehicle is operating a rail replacement, you can't take the bikes on board!

Both are Go-Ahead/Govia as well, so they can't even agree internally!
 

DynamicSpirit

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It's simply not possible for buses to safely carry bikes. So what do you expect from the rail operator?

I think in the particular situation @BurtonM describes, where the bike was carried on the outward journey, and the customer wasn't informed before buying a ticket/travelling that their bike wouldn't be permitted on the return journey, then as a minimum I'd expect them to provide somewhere reasonably safe to store the bike, and a ticket for me to return to pick it up again at my convenience on a day when the trains are running (Either that or for them to arrange to put the bike on a train to my home station under the supervision of the guard as soon as there is an available train - I suspect that is much harder for the TOC to organise today than it would have been 30 or so years ago though).

(To be fair, that's probably an unusual situation)
 

Robertj21a

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Ironically in Brighton we have buses on which you can take bikes, but if the same vehicle is operating a rail replacement, you can't take the bikes on board!

Both are Go-Ahead/Govia as well, so they can't even agree internally!
Presumably this is a small number of specially equipped buses rather than the whole routine fleet?
 

charley_17/7

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Presumably this is a small number of specially equipped buses rather than the whole routine fleet?
Yes, operating on specific routes. There was previously a much larger fleet of the vehicle type, but as the fleet was renewed and dual-doors became popular, the operator and council lost interest, and is now weekend only I think.

Effectively the whole nearside was tip up seats until the rear wheel arch, with luggages straps to secure the bikes in place.

Also extremely popular with buggies, prams, wheelchair users as there was massive amounts of space available compared to usual.
 

philthetube

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Maybe bikes should be charged for in order to cover the cost of providing for them when RRB's are operating, to expect provision to be taken out of fares is unreasonable to non cyclists.

Is carrying a bike a right or a privilege.
 

charley_17/7

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Maybe bikes should be charged for in order to cover the cost of providing for them when RRB's are operating, to expect provision to be taken out of fares is unreasonable to non cyclists.

Is carrying a bike a right or a privilege.
I already pay £3k for an Annual Gold Card, and because of engineering work, usually on Sundays, I have to take a bicycle with me as there is no direct tube or rail replacement bus provided, otherwise I would be late for my shift.

How much more should I pay for a crap service?
 

unlevel42

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I think in the particular situation @BurtonM describes, where the bike was carried on the outward journey, and the customer wasn't informed before buying a ticket/travelling that their bike wouldn't be permitted on the return journey, then as a minimum I'd expect them to provide somewhere reasonably safe to store the bike, and a ticket for me to return to pick it up again at my convenience on a day when the trains are running (Either that or for them to arrange to put the bike on a train to my home station under the supervision of the guard as soon as there is an available train - I suspect that is much harder for the TOC to organise today than it would have been 30 or so years ago though).

(To be fair, that's probably an unusual situation)
All cyclists know that travelling with a bike requires that they reserve* a space on most TOCs- particularly if they are inflexible in their travel plans.
As the OP has been planning the journey for a while they will have been aware of engineering work and RRB for some time.
When I have really needed to take my bike I have made sure that I could dismantle the fork, front wheel and handlebar, bagged up and secured with tape. It's surprising the positive response you get from staff when you are seen to be making an effort.

*There are terms and conditions applicable to bicycle reservations which make it clear that bicycle travel is never guaranteed.


Nowadays all is solved by a Brompton in a bag.
 

Robertj21a

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All these people referring to problems with bikes seem to be referring to out-and-back day trips. What happens when they are taking their bikes as part of a 4-5 day break and one part is substituted by buses, or they are out and back but in, say, a week's time?. Surely, anything can happen with the various train services over a period of time and I'm struggling to see why the rail company can be expected to do anything about an item that is, presumably, travelling for free.
 

unlevel42

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If you are rich and not too big for one.
Earlier I explained what I did before I shrank and was poor.

This weekend there are no trains, trams or tramtrains or RRBs between Sheffield and Meadowhall/Rotherham Central.
The service buses cannot take bicycles.
Solution- cycle!
 

Robertj21a

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False. It is possible to make provision.



An alternative, e.g. a van following the bus? An accessible coach where they fit underneath?
Somewhat pedantic I feel but, yes, anything at all can in theory be modified to carry bikes. What we are talking about in practice, however, is those buses hired in by TOCs to run in place of their trains, sometimes at short notice. In future years, fully accessible coaches, with luggage capacity, should be provided to cover all eventualities, but that appears to still be some way off (due largely to insufficient vehicles being available at present). Are you assuming that bus operators will modify some of their vehicles so that they might (on rare occasions) be called upon to carry a bike if they do rail replacement work ? - do you consider that reasonable ? - and likely to happen?
 

gka472l

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Back at the beginning of 2017 when the Birkenhead North/Central to Liverpool bit of the Merseyrail Wirral line was closed and a large fleet of new double deckers was provided by Arriva to replace the trains, an old Volvo B10B single decker was specially converted as a bike bus, ran on an hourly frequency from memory.....
 

DynamicSpirit

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False. It is possible to make provision.



An alternative, e.g. a van following the bus? An accessible coach where they fit underneath?

It's certainly possible in principle to make provision, but that probably lies more in the hands of the Government, as it would require large-scale conversion of quite a lot of buses, with implications for how many passengers they could carry and the level of support required from the Government for public transport. When hiring rail replacement buses, the TOCs' hands are going to be largely tied by, what vehicles are actually available to hire so it's not going to be within their control to find buses that can carry bikes.

A separate van is an interesting idea, though I'm not sure how economic it would be - given that most of the time it'd be running around empty.
 

Robertj21a

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It's certainly possible in principle to make provision, but that probably lies more in the hands of the Government, as it would require large-scale conversion of quite a lot of buses, with implications for how many passengers they could carry and the level of support required from the Government for public transport. When hiring rail replacement buses, the TOCs' hands are going to be largely tied by, what vehicles are actually available to hire so it's not going to be within their control to find buses that can carry bikes.

A separate van is an interesting idea, though I'm not sure how economic it would be - given that most of the time it'd be running around empty.
Presumably, a separate van to meet every train, at every station ?
 

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