Cycle spaces on trains

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by jfowkes, 12 Aug 2019.

Should trains have bike spaces at all?

  1. Yes

    238 vote(s)
    62.3%
  2. No

    74 vote(s)
    19.4%
  3. It's obviously complicated and context dependent

    70 vote(s)
    18.3%
  1. jfowkes

    jfowkes Member

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    This is a subject close to my heart as I cycle quite a bit and often take my bike on trains.

    BUT.

    The attitude of TOCs to bikes seems to vary from "OK, if we must" to "we're actively going to try and put you off travelling", and I can understand why.

    Bikes are slow to board/alight, take up valuable space and are a potential safety hazard. Also cyclists can be smelly (I include myself firmly in this category).

    Some classes of rolling stock are really, really bad for storing bikes. Class 222 have the bike spaces behind a frequently-locked door. Class 170s have an area that's ostensibly a "bike space" which is actually just "the bit in front of the loo". Some sprinters have a weird narrow room that you can't actually fit a bike into. Other sprinters have a nice big bike space that you can't get to because the door and vestibule are too small to manoeuvre a bike through.

    Given all this, should we give up the pretence that bikes and trains are a good mix? Is it really worth spending money and time catering to this tiny, tiny segment of the market?
     
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  3. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I voted yes, and don't really have much else to say on the matter, and will agree to disagree with anyone who votes no!
     
  4. Aictos

    Aictos Established Member

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    Yes because we should be encouraging all eco friendly modes of transport regardless.
     
  5. pdeaves

    pdeaves Established Member

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    So can plenty of other different categories people. That shouldn't be a consideration.
     
  6. farci

    farci Member

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  7. PeterC

    PeterC Established Member

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    Bikes shouldn't be jammed into vestibules obstructing passengers boarding and alighting. They should either be conveyed in a dedicated space or not at all.
     
  8. Bromley boy

    Bromley boy Established Member

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    With trains becoming increasingly crowded, and the demise of “guards’ vans” it’s inevitably going to be harder and harder to justify bike spaces.

    Unfortunately bikes cause nothing but trouble on my part of the network, from people trying to board rush hour trains with bikes (in contravention of the TOC’s policy), to cycles blocking doors, causing arguments and posing a risk of injury.

    Folding bikes help but are still quite bulky, even when folded, especially during rush hour conditions.

    I’m all for encouraging cycling but some cyclists need to use the railway in a more responsible manner.
     
  9. Andrew*Debbie

    Andrew*Debbie Member

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    Yes. I don't cycle anymore but I entirely support bicycles on trains.

    That said, cyclists should follow the rules both on the train and off.
     
  10. Andrew*Debbie

    Andrew*Debbie Member

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    Debbie on the back of our Tandem... Still have the bike but we haven't ridden it in a few years < sigh >

    Debbie.jpg
     
  11. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Yes. The bicycle is an environmentally friendly, healthy and road-space efficient mode of transport which is to be encouraged, and while for something like a London commute leaving it at the station tends to be preferable, taking it with you opens up far more "obscure" journey possibilities as being feasible with rail.

    Don't I recall that the EU (should we remain in it) is going to mandate a minimum number of spaces? 4-5 per train would be a good start, more on scenic routes. It can always be used as standing space in the peaks.
     
  12. GoneSouth

    GoneSouth Member

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    If we are at all serious about removing cars from the roads. and the associated pollution, then there definitely should be provision for bikes on trains.

    Sadly, car is king in this country and we don’t give people enough incentive to leave them at home. It can be a long walk to stations at either end of a commute, and if bikes weren’t allowed then lots of people would just think sod it I’ll drive. And why shouldn’t they.
     
  13. jfowkes

    jfowkes Member

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    I agree with the premise, and personally I agree with having bike spaces on trains. But playing devil's advocate: if bikes weren't allow on trains, it would make space for more seats or standing room. If two cyclists are removed from a train (and start driving instead), but four extra walking passengers board (who were previously driving), the total number of cars on the road falls.

    Obviously this is a very simplistic argument, but you get the idea.
     
  14. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

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    The rules seem arbitrary, to vary by company and get contradicted by some guards which then means either you comply with guard and other passengers see you as naughty rule breaker or you get ordered off!

    Have UK multiple units never got "multifunction" spaces like on most Belgian trains? Most often a half or full carriage of longitudinal strapontins with wall straps to secure bikes or large suitcases. Is it because National Rail don't sell bike or large luggage tickets and only do the legal minimum for wheelchairs because they'd rather PRMs drove instead?
     
  15. GoneSouth

    GoneSouth Member

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    Yup, who’d want to be a rail service planner, nothing is ever straight forward.

    Let’s turn old Pacers into bike racks and drag them around on all the nice shiny new trains :E
     
  16. Roast Veg

    Roast Veg Member

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    Folding bikes never take up more space than a large suitcase, incentives to get people onto them seems wise to me. It also dramatically increases the catchment area of a station for non-car users.
     
  17. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    You jest but it is exactly what ScotRail are doing with 153s for the West Highland Line.
     
  18. Mathew S

    Mathew S Established Member

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    This. No problem with cycle spaces on trains, only cyclists who don't use them and get in everyone else's way.
     
  19. 91103eastcoast

    91103eastcoast Member

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    One thing that annoys me with LNER’s approach is that bicycle reservations are compulsory yet there isn’t a way of doing it on their website. This could be really discouraging because a cyclist would surely want to book a bike space when booking their ticket?
    As other posters have said above, bicycles are an environmentally friendly transport method and should be encouraged.
     
  20. brompton rail

    brompton rail Member

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    So presumably the argument about freeing up space for more passengers would apply to people with prams / pushchairs and naturally anyone with more than hand luggage, and I’ve not mentioned wheelchairs! What exactly is the purpose of a train then?

    Provision should be made on all trains for the number of passengers travelling, along with their children, luggage, bicycles, pushchairs and mobility aids. Trains aren’t big enough, well then we need longer and more accommodating trains. The purpose of the railways is to carry people and their accoutrements comfortably, safely and efficiently, and if we are to reduce greenhouse emissions, has to persuade anyone making journeys that the train is an attractive (if less convenient) to the car. After all the railway is a public service (just like water, gas electricity etc) supported by government.
     
  21. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Part of the cause of this is that (except on Northern) it is really hard to see where the space is.

    It should look like this (same for wheelchair/pram areas):

    [​IMG]
     
  22. jfowkes

    jfowkes Member

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    YES. I think this is the big problem with bike spaces. If we stuck to the rules, taking cycles on trains would be a logistical nightmare and it wouldn't be worth the effort.

    We're meant to book spaces, but no TOC to my knowledge lets you do that at the same time as booking a ticket (unless you ring them). If we turn up and chance it, we might not get on, so we won't chance it at all.

    To allow cyclists to actually follow the rules, bike provision across the board needs to be a lot, lot better. At the moment the limited, terrible provision on the trains and the awful booking system means just turning up and whacking your bike on is often the best option.
     
  23. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

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    That deserves the same reply as to those drivers who complain about cyclists not using cycle lanes: they'd use them if they're all right. Do you think anyone wants to get in the way?

    There are far too many trains where using the bike spaces means hanging it up by a part not intended for hanging, such as a wheel or crossbar, then risking getting blocked in by cyclists who board later. Turbo stars and IEP both suffer that and I think some others do too. Any fixing method other than individual racjs with straps should not be sallowed.
     
  24. jfowkes

    jfowkes Member

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    I'd argue that wheelchairs, pushchairs and (to a certain extent) luggage are essentials in a way that bikes aren't.
     
  25. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Unfolded pushchairs are not. It makes life easier not to have to fold them, but they can be folded. There are almost none on the market now which cannot, as they will need to fold to go in a car, and there is almost nobody who never travels by car at all, even if it's a taxi or someone else's giving them a lift.

    Wheelchairs clearly are though.
     
  26. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

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    GWR and a few other First Group companies let you book bikes when you buy tickets although I've not done it for a few months so maybe they broke it recently.
     
  27. jfowkes

    jfowkes Member

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    Cross Country 170s are the worst for this. It's fairly impossible to see until you're a few meters from the door. Ditto for the wheelchair symbol.
     
  28. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    ^^^^ This

    For example, where folded prams (As opposed to strollers) are supposed to go on GWR IETs without either occupying the wheelchair user space (which is in first class anyway), the nominal bike space, or blocking the aisles, in the quest to hem more seats in. Never mind if you want to keep it unfolded if your kid is sleeping.

    I went for occupying the bike space as 'least worst' option.

    On GTR 387s, I've kept an unfolded pram in the bit opposite the accessible loo. Cue cyclists then boarding looking lost as to where to place their bikes (it is not marked as any kind of designated space; the wheelchair user spaces are the opposite side of the vestibule/doorway).

    The basic problem is placing those who aspire more space in direct conflict with each other for the same spaces.
     
  29. Bromley boy

    Bromley boy Established Member

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    All well and good saying that, but the reality is that the infrastructure imposes limits on this as the cost of lengthening platforms etc. is prohibitive. This is the reason why we are seeing less seating on newer trains (certainly in south east commuter land).

    Wheelchairs and pushchairs are essential for users to get around, bikes are not (hence many TOCs ban non-folding bikes in the peaks).
     
  30. furnessvale

    furnessvale Established Member

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    Without taking sides, who pays for the longer and more accommodating trains?

    Other passengers? The Government (i.e. the taxpayer)? The person bringing the bike, luggage, pushchair etc onto the train?

    There is NO fourth choice.
     
  31. Harpers Tate

    Harpers Tate Established Member

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    Yes.
    There is a move at least in Manchester and in Yorkshire towards promoting what is termed "active travel". This is where all or part of a journey is made using human power - walk, cycle, etc. It therefore includes a journey that is (say) (departure point) bike > train > bike (destination).

    Active travel, if done properly and seriously
    - improves the health of people by reducing obesity and increasing cardiovascular fitness, which in turn saves (health service) money
    - reduces road congestion which improves the appeal of buses (quicker journeys), improves air quality which in turn improves health and saves (health service) money
    and so on. It's all good.

    What is NOT needed is suggestions that people should
    - buy a special (folding) bike for this purpose when they already have a perfectly good one
    - or have two bikes so they can keep one at home for the trip to the departure station and then another kept locked at destination for use there
    - or use one of those wretched and expensive rental bikes at destination.
    These are sure ways to keep people in their cars. It would me - and I want to be an active/public transport traveller. No hope for those wedded to cars.

    What IS needed, quite simply, is trains that are fit for purpose. That means big enough for people and their luggage (which may include a full size bicycle). Yes, it will cost money, but it would be well spent, and offers a (health money) saving elsewhere in the longer term. The saving might very well exceed the expense........
     

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