Cycle spaces on trains

Should trains have bike spaces at all?

  • Yes

    Votes: 238 62.3%
  • No

    Votes: 74 19.4%
  • It's obviously complicated and context dependent

    Votes: 70 18.3%

  • Total voters
    382

ashkeba

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"Really? Are they signed as wheelchair/pram (I didn't find the sign online) or are people putting prams in the wheelchair spaces?"

On Merseyrail it's a dual wheelchair/pram space.

I assume that if someone in a wheelchair has booked assistance they will take priority over someone with a pram.

And YES, they do have signs. All information is available on the Merseyrail website.
Can you find the signs in the Merseyrail website? I did not.

I did find it saying cycle spaces are at each end of the train which disagrees with photos I have seen that seem to show wheelchair spaces at one end. If they disagree, that may explain some of the conflicts mentioned earlier.
 
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ashkeba

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"So we started off with bikes taking up the space of three people, then another poster upped that to four, now it's "8 or 9 people"! Any more bids?"

3 bikes taking up the space of 8 or 9 people numpty. Learn to read!!!
I read it and it is still ridiculous unless you show me 9 people in 1.17m² and confirm that's acceptable to you (probably over complaints of those who object to 4 people per m²).
 

DynamicSpirit

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By the way, talking of cycle reservations: A couple of weeks ago, I got on a Pendolino from Manchester to Euston with my reserved cycle, and was surprised to find not one, but three other cycles in the cycle compartment at the end of coach A - all apparently with reservations. I thought Pendolinos only allowed two cycles per train. Does anyone know if something has changed? Or has it always been 4 cycles allowed?
 

ashkeba

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By the way, talking of cycle reservations: A couple of weeks ago, I got on a Pendolino from Manchester to Euston with my reserved cycle, and was surprised to find not one, but three other cycles in the cycle compartment at the end of coach A - all apparently with reservations. I thought Pendolinos only allowed two cycles per train. Does anyone know if something has changed? Or has it always been 4 cycles allowed?
https://www.virgintrains.co.uk/experience/bikes says four bikes and web.archive.org shows it has said that since at least 2015.
 

smsm1

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next time cycle the 3/4 of a mile from Brunswick to Central!
Maybe it's time we had signed protected cycle track/quiet road cycle routes between train stations so that people travelling shorter distances don't need to take the bike on trains as much.

The Chisholm Trail which is currently being built is a great example of this.

In London, I'm keen to have every London Terminal linked to every other London Terminal with signed cycle routes would be good for way finding and easing demand on the tube.
 

Amanda

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One of the reasons I stopped commuting by train + bike was because the route on which I travelled is incredibly busy. I use the Robin Hood Line, which is Worksop/Mansfield to Nottingham and got on the last-but-one stop, got off at Nottingham, then got on another train to Attenborough or Beeston and cycled from there. The Robin Hood Line was always busy, the Attenborough/Beeston section was always problem-free.

The mornings were usually fine, occasionally you'd get more than the permitted two bikes on, but the evenings were horrendous. On one occasion there were SIX bikes, a scooter, two prams + suitcases all in one space. Passengers always stand on this service (1726 ex Nottingham), the next one half an hour later isn't so bad.

On that service, operated by East Midlands Trains, I would try to wait halfway along the platform so I could watch the train pull in and look for the labels by the doors. If the wheelchair label was at one end, that meant the bike one was at the other, but they are very hard to spot and sometimes are obscured by dirt.

If getting on at Beeston, the CrossCountry services usually have a pretty decent bike area. The East Midlands Trains Meridians have it at one end, usually the back, and they're a bit like an old guard's carriage.

My commute consisted of a 2-mile cycle at either end and 2 trains in the middle. I only did it for a short while and in the end it was part of the reason I quit my job, which really was too far to commute without a car or without it being prohibitively expensive (for my means anyway). The other cyclists I met were usually very helpful and understanding but occasionally you would get one who was a bit of a knob (for example people who would insist on bringing a bike onto a train that was already packed and already had 3 bikes on it). Passengers too were largely understanding but sometimes just cheesed off. One cyclist told me a man refused to move from the fold-down seat in the cycle space, even when the guard spoke to him, and he ended up getting a later train. I have on a couple of occasions decided to wait for a later train.

The problem I found really is that train carriages (on the Sprinters) and doors are really narrow, so if you get on with a bike and find there's no room, it's hard to turn it round or lift it up and get it off again. Not to mention that unless your train is starting from your starting point, you have a matter of seconds to get on, and to be honest if I've got on with a bike and found the space occupied I haven't usually felt able to get back off again.

I would never commute again with a bike on the Robin Hood Line, it has really put me off. I would use it for leisure purposes but not regularly, there is too much stress and risk (of not being able to get on) involved.

I do think cyclists should be allowed on trains but provision needs to be made better. I would like there to be more spaces but I don't really know how. East Midlands Trains doesn't have compulsory reservations on my local routes but maybe if all TOCs did have that it would be easier to work out routes which carry a high number of bikes and start there, looking at how it can be done.
 

nickw1

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Yes, at least on non-intercity trains. (with some restrictions such as travel into and out of large cities in the peak direction or use on intercity services).

People enjoy going for bike rides in the countryside; this benefits the economy as it encourages people to visit (to go for a bike ride, they'd then end up spending money in pubs, teashops etc) and it means less people travelling by car with their bikes, resulting in less busy roads and environmental benefits.

Restricted space for bikes is a big problem these days, and adds to uncertainty when trying to use bikes with trains. Arguments such as bike riders being 'smelly' don't wash (sorry), I'm afraid: this creates a rather snobby attitude where the railway decides which passengers are 'desirable' and which are not. That's the last thing we want.

We need more bike space, not less; if they could manage in the 1990s and before on SR (on relatively quiet off peak trains), why not now? As a compromise, why not have a large bike space on each unit, of similar capacity to the old guard's van, which then becomes barred to bikes between say 0700-0900 and 1600-1900 on weekdays in the peak direction close to London (and other big cities) to be used as additional standing space? Obviously something like the 1730 stopper from SOU to Brockenhurst would not be subject to this restriction beyond SOU, as that isn't a particularly busy train, but damned useful for doing an evening bike ride in the New Forest, at least in the summer half of the year.
 

al78

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We need more bike space, not less; if they could manage in the 1990s and before on SR (on relatively quiet off peak trains), why not now?
Demand for rail has increased substantially since then, and it is difficult to justify allocating more space for a minority such as cyclists, at the expense of the majority (foot passengers). There is only ever going to be a finite amount of space.
 

DynamicSpirit

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https://www.virgintrains.co.uk/experience/bikes says four bikes and web.archive.org shows it has said that since at least 2015.
Thanks that's interesting. I read "Our West Coast Mainline trains can take up to four bikes" as meaning some trains can take four bikes but not necessarily all trains. And seeing as you have the doubled-up voyagers that have twice as much cycle space as other trains, I would have assumed those are the ones that can take four bikes, with other trains able to take 2. But perhaps I'm mistaken.
 

marks87

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Thanks that's interesting. I read "Our West Coast Mainline trains can take up to four bikes" as meaning some trains can take four bikes but not necessarily all trains. And seeing as you have the doubled-up voyagers that have twice as much cycle space as other trains, I would have assumed those are the ones that can take four bikes, with other trains able to take 2. But perhaps I'm mistaken.
I suppose it depends on your reading of it.

"Our trains can take four bikes" could, strictly speaking, be read as only four bikes - no more, no fewer. "Up to" means they can take any number between zero and four.
 

tpjm

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1. They would help but few trains have bike symbols which can be seen on approach. Even fewer have big ones. I think the example picture with the big symbols was from Denmark maybe. Definitely not the UK. Thameslink have fairly big symbols but not that big. I think sub-A3 or unmarked and usually low contrast is much more typical.

2. Go on then. Try to book a bike on from Finsbury Park to Huntingdon using TPE's website.

3. Asking is also the first step to conflict. I do it but it often goes bad fast.
I'm giving you examples that are local to me. MY local network is TPE, therefore I could read the CIS, get myself into the right place, using the reservation I'd booked online, or via Twitter, or via WhatsApp, or via the booking office, or via the telephone (Yes! there are that many options) and then ask other customers to stand so I could safely and correctly store my bike.

You seem to be pushing back, arguing against these fairly simple points, so maybe it's best if you don't take your bike on the train for the comfort of everybody else..?
 

Class 170101

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Because it doesn't involve a rental charge, is more convenient, and rental bikes often have a poor quality ride. It is rather like driving to a ferry port and taking my car on a ferry for a European road trip, rather than parking my car at Dover/Folkestone and hiring a car at on the continent.

For those of us going through London to go elsewhere, intending to use the bike as utility transport at our destination, or not doing simple in-and-out routes, e.g. home to London, then London to my workplace in the Surrey hills where there is no practical public transport access, my own bike is the only practical option.
However the ferry has space for cars.

The big issue here is not so much the presence of bikes on trains, but badly designed cycle spaces. Whoever thought "let's put tip-up seats in the cycle space so we can create needless conflict between cyclists and other passengers" wants shooting. Whoever subsequently thought that TPE class 185s (for example) would be ideal for Manchester Airpost services, where most travellers seem to be competing to see who can bring the biggest suitcase with them, wants shooting twice!
You can blame the DfT for the tip up seats. They count as seating provision in terms of crowding.
 

Class 170101

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Surely having so many bikes on board is a health and safety hazard and something that the guard should keep an eye on.
When do you recall being the last time you were injured by a bicycle on a train?
There is a limit because even when trains are put on for bike events only so many are allowed on (more than normal) but its still governed by health and safety. An event I know of got close to being banned due to concerns about the number of bikes.
 

centraltrains

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There is nothing more annoying than being on a full and standing peak time train [or one everyone know will become full and standing in a few stations time], and then someone tries to get on with a bike. They take up the space 2-3 people would otherwise occupy and make it very awkward as no one really wants to be next to it apart from the cyclist. Quite frankly our trains don't have capacity for people, never mind bikes at peak time - and I think those without bikes should be priority over those without, unless they will fit in the overhead racks securely. [We don't have peak time bike restrictions].

Bikes on trains should be for leisure journeys only. The solution (as seen in Europe and elsewhere) should be mass cycle storage at stations and 2 bikes at either end for commuting.
Which is how Chiltern seem to do it at Marylebone. We need more city stations to do this. It seems extremely popular at Marylebone, I fail to see why no other major stations give this type of offering.
 

Bletchleyite

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Which is how Chiltern seem to do it at Marylebone. We need more city stations to do this. It seems extremely popular at Marylebone, I fail to see why no other major stations give this type of offering.
What we need is Dutch style "bewaakte Fietsanstallingen" which are staffed, secure facilities. There is a small fee, but the benefit is of allowing you to keep a decent bike safe there and not having to ride an old boneshaker to ensure it isn't nicked.
 

jfowkes

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Just got on a Northern class 195 for the first time (without a bike).

Disappointed to see that they haven’t put the big "this is the bike space" banners on them like the sprinters.

The bike space itself is alright though. I like the seat belt for strapping them in.
 

Meerkat

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Apologies if there is already an ongoing discussion.
Carriage of bikes on trains seems to repeatedly crop up as a problem or the subject of demands by interest groups.
They seem to cause considerable friction, competing for the space with each other and passengers, and are an utter nuisance in doorways and stations. SWR don’t allow them in the peak, but GWR do at Guildford so you get crush flows of commuters held up by cyclists trying to get a mountain bike out of a train and up the stairs.
Why are they free? They use up significant amounts of passenger space that could be used for more seating and cycling groups demand more.
Should they be banned by default, with bookable exceptions on specific services?

Ps I am a cyclist myself so this isn’t an anti cyclist motorist rant, I just don’t see bikes as a priority on a crowded system, especially when they don’t pay their way.
 

tiptoptaff

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They pay their way in the form of their tickets, much like anyone else who brings an item of large luggage - which is what bikes effectively are. Are you going to start charging to reserve a space for a large suitcase?

I agree bikes should be restricted to reservation only. But I don't think you should charge for that reservation, and I also believe those kinds of reservations should be available a lot closer to the time of departure than currently.
 

Peter C

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Apologies if there is already an ongoing discussion.
Carriage of bikes on trains seems to repeatedly crop up as a problem or the subject of demands by interest groups.
They seem to cause considerable friction, competing for the space with each other and passengers, and are an utter nuisance in doorways and stations. SWR don’t allow them in the peak, but GWR do at Guildford so you get crush flows of commuters held up by cyclists trying to get a mountain bike out of a train and up the stairs.
Why are they free? They use up significant amounts of passenger space that could be used for more seating and cycling groups demand more.
Should they be banned by default, with bookable exceptions on specific services?

Ps I am a cyclist myself so this isn’t an anti cyclist motorist rant, I just don’t see bikes as a priority on a crowded system, especially when they don’t pay their way.
Personally, and I do not ride a bike, but I am perfectly alright with people taking a bike on an off-peak train, but peak services are a no-no. Also, if a service is known to be busy, the TOC should post information about this around stations which the service calls at and tell people that bikes may not be able to be carried on said train.
There was something on Paddington 24/7 (the Channel 5 show) where some cyclists got very angry that they couldn't take their bikes with them because they arrived too late. Yes, it was a HST service, and so they could have taken their bikes if they had gotten there earlier, but if it had been an IET they would have been stuck if the service had been busy. Cyclists also should know that they need to get to the station before the train arrives, as should anyone travelling with luggage. Not having a go at cyclists - just my opinion.

-Peter
 

Starmill

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Cycle reservations are compulsory on a quite a large number of routes these days, although there is no charge. Cycles are banned at certain times on many routes, and this should probably be rolled out across all commuter routes.
 

Peter C

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Yes, we should do everything possible to discourage people from cycling and encourage all to drive.
That's not what the OP said. They said "Should they be banned by default, with bookable exceptions on specific services?" in relation to trains - this is not discouraging people from cycling. Please note that all because someone says "I don't think that we should have bikes on all trains" doesn't mean "We should ban bikes everywhere and force people to use cars".

-Peter
 

Intermodal

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Please note that all because someone says "I don't think that we should have bikes on all trains" doesn't mean "We should ban bikes everywhere and force people to use cars".
It effectively does. If you're going to ban them on any service, it'll be the best timed ones for commuters which are therefore the busiest, meaning therefore people will not be able to commute by bike.
 

Peter C

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They pay their way in the form of their tickets, much like anyone else who brings an item of large luggage - which is what bikes effectively are. Are you going to start charging to reserve a space for a large suitcase?

I agree bikes should be restricted to reservation only. But I don't think you should charge for that reservation, and I also believe those kinds of reservations should be available a lot closer to the time of departure than currently.
I agree with you in the fact that bikes should not be charged for a reservation - if a TOC does not charge for a seat reservation. I don't think GWR charge for a seat reservation and therefore if they had a free bike reservation people could take their bikes with them for no extra cost.

-Peter
 

Peter C

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It effectively does. If you're going to ban them on any service, it'll be the best timed ones for commuters which are therefore the busiest, meaning therefore people will not be able to commute by bike.
Surely if you can use your bike to commute you can go without using the train? If not, don't take the bike with you and walk to your destination.
Ban bikes on the services which are regularly busy, such as commuter services in the peaks. 100s of commuters trying to get to seats on the train won't want to be stuck behind a bike - advise those using bikes to travel in the off-peak.

-Peter
 

Bletchleyite

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They pay their way in the form of their tickets, much like anyone else who brings an item of large luggage - which is what bikes effectively are. Are you going to start charging to reserve a space for a large suitcase?

I agree bikes should be restricted to reservation only. But I don't think you should charge for that reservation, and I also believe those kinds of reservations should be available a lot closer to the time of departure than currently.
VTWC offer them until 5 minutes before departure from the boarding station. There is no excuse for other TOCs not doing the same.
 

Ken H

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Bikes used to be chargeable. Then BR discontinued the charging of bikes. But it was Ok then because every train had a guards van.
Newer trains didnt have the guards van so there was nowhere to put the bikes on many trains. BR didnt bite the nettle - they should have banned bikes from sprinters as soon as they arrived.
if its public policy to have bike spaces on trains, then it should be made a franchise requirement when getting new trains. Someone will have to pay for that provision as we will need a longer train than if we didnt make provision.
Bikes in vestibules are a pain.
 

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