Northern Bike and Go

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by aformeruser, 12 Aug 2015.

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  1. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    Northern have put out this news story which doesn't appear to be very clear

    http://www.northernrail.org/news/7734

    Do they mean share Bike and Go on your social media account and then they will give you a free subscription by sending your a scan of your driver's licence or passport to them?
     
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  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Doesn't mention social media that I can see - just email them if your birthday is 13th August. (That's what they mean by share - have the same birthday)
     
  4. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

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    600 hires in two years? Less than one a day across the network of 26 stations? I don't know what their criteria for success were, but I'd call that a slow take-up.
     
  5. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    The problem to me would be availability. Because unlike London there aren't large numbers of hire points, I'd only really consider it if I could reserve a bike. And if I'm going to do that you could argue it's easier to take my own there and store it at the station :)
     
  6. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    Yes. At Knutsford there's a rack of 10 bikes and there's always at least 9 in them and that's at the station closest to Tatton Park. I think it would work better if there was a subscription rate and a Pay as You Go rate with PAYG being available to people who haven't signed up in advance.
     
  7. HH

    HH Established Member

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    There was an even lower level of take up on AGA last I checked. All the powers that be love to put money into these schemes, but no-one wants to use them.
     
  8. Camden

    Camden Established Member

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    Think there are a number of things they could do to increase the attractiveness of the scheme, including enabling spontaneous hire (rather than having to send off for a membership card first).

    I'd dispute no one wants to use them. Quick google: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/citybike-celebrates-year-liverpools-streets-9252378

    Nearly 56,000 hires in one year in one single district of Liverpool (they're not city wide), but 600 across a network than spans the entire north. Suggests to me improvements could be made and worth making!
     
    Last edited: 12 Aug 2015
  9. dk1

    dk1 Established Member

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    Has to be one of the most pathetic flops in the history of franchise commitments. When you think of all the things that passengers actually want & need its criminal.
     
  10. modernrail

    modernrail Member

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    Bike hire has proved to be incredibly successful in lots of places and in lots of different contexts. Bikes have the potential to constitute excellent last mile transport around railway stations across the country. However, the scheme has to be well designed for the particular context and suit how passengers want to use the scheme.

    If you compare the procedure for hiring through the Brompton and the Northern Rail schemes you will see the main problem:

    http://www.northernrail.org/travel/cycling/bike-and-go

    http://www.bikeradar.com/commuting/...-dock-bike-hire-scheme-put-to-the-test-33903/

    The northern scheme is basically flawed, the Brompton scheme is much better. With northern you need to (1) get a card by post and (2) scan it at the ticket office and collect a key?!?

    They might as well distribute parts of the bike around the station and give you 5 minutes to assemble it, perhaps with the Crystal maze music going in the background.

    Also, the locations of some of the stands is just plain daft. I noticed at Wigan Wallgate they are on the platform, at the end furthest away from the station building. If you travel into Wigan, I presume you would need to get off your train, walk up the stairs to the ticket office, queue to get a key (if the ticket office is open), walk back down the stairs onto the platform and get your bike, queue for the lift as it will be too heavy for most to lift up the stairs and then push through the concourse. Presumably you would need to do the same in reverse on your return. Total madness.

    I remember hiring a bike from the Leeds City Station facility when that first opened. My mood quickly went from excitement at a handy new option to extreme irritation. It took nearly 30 minutes to register and collect the bike.

    Bikes can be extremely useful for last mile transport. However, the northern scheme needs to be altered to suit how people will actually use the scheme. 600 hires is a failure. Time to go back to the drawing board and talk to passengers about how they actually want to use the bikes. It is not that things like this should not be a priority, somebody just needs to engage their brain for just a few seconds whilst putting the thing together.
     
  11. HH

    HH Established Member

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    No-one wants to use them from rail stations. The reasons why they work across a city (and 'Boris Bikes' are a far bigger example) should point to why they don't work so well where the only pick up and drop off point is the rail station.

    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I absolutely agree that this doesn't help, but it's probably not the main issue. With Boris Bikes I can pick up one outside the rail station and drop it off close to the office (there's a choice of 5 places within a few minutes walk). These rail bike schemes just don't have that flexibility - the whole idea is flawed. They should rather seek to be part of a borough-wide scheme.
     
    Last edited: 12 Aug 2015
  12. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    It is obviously based on the hugely successful OV-Fiets service run by Dutch Railways. 1.5 million hires from 252 locations by 180,000 subscribers in 2014:

    https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/OV-fiets

    However, the British implementation was bound to be less popular because:

    You have to queue up at the ticket office to pick up and collect the bike, whereas in the Netherlands you simply pick up the bike and walk out, swiping the card at the exit with the attendant which delays you about 1 to 2 seconds.

    The £3.80 price is higher than the cost in the Netherlands (3.15 euros for 24 hours), also the £10 membership fee is higher than the 10 euros in the Netherlands.

    In the Netherlands you pay 6 euros a day to take your bike on the train and it is banned in peak times except in July and August whereas it is free in the UK and is even allowed at all times on Northern.
     
    Last edited: 12 Aug 2015
  13. HH

    HH Established Member

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    Blame DfT and other government bodies. Put a couple in your bid and up goes the "quality" score. I once tried to persuade them that they shouldn't incentivise schemes that don't produce economic benefits, but bikes set Whitehall hearts a-flutter...

    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    And because the Netherlands have a huge cycling culture, helped both by geography and civic planning.
     
    Last edited: 12 Aug 2015
  14. Camden

    Camden Established Member

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    Well that adds up and starts to make a lot of sense. I'm guessing the mandarins also like it (despite the waste) because they can tick environmental boxes? I agree with all of the above about the changes that need to be made to make it work, including drop off locations. If you're going to have a scheme at all, why not make it a success.

    But I wouldn't say Liverpool has a cycling culture, and it's certainly not a cycle friendly city if you know it. A decent scheme though, ticks most of the boxes for immediacy and usefulness, and gets 56k uses in its first year in a district of 470k.

    I read an article not so long ago talking about the Danish push to get people cycling, how much effort it took to make it happening en masse, but today it's the default mode of transport for nearly half of commuters https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycling_in_Copenhagen Shows you can achieve big change with the right approach.
     
    Last edited: 12 Aug 2015
  15. HH

    HH Established Member

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    I agree that a good scheme can get patronage in this country; there has been a big change in attitudes to cycling over the last few years. Boris Bikes had over 47k hires in a single day, and that's on a fleet of 11.5k. TfL reckon there are now over 600k cycle journeys a day in London. And London is hardly cycle friendly either.

    But still, those figures are small in comparison to the Netherlands.
     
  16. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    The big thing about Boris bikes is that the large number of hire stations mean that (a) you can near enough always get one if you shop around a bit, (b) you don't have to keep hold of it all day (indeed, you're discouraged from doing so), and (c) they are useful for one way rides. And I suppose (d) the distributed nature of central London as against the other towns makes local journeys by modes other than foot more desirable.

    That makes the Boris bike scheme a whole lot more useful.

    FWIW I've been using the Boris bikes a lot more now I don't have to carry an awkwardly shaped key or use the clunky UI on the "pillars", and can instead get a release code on the new app.
     
    Last edited: 12 Aug 2015
  17. HH

    HH Established Member

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    I agree with all that although there are a number of other cities that have a distributed centre, even if not to the same level as London. The average journey is quite short I believe.
     
  18. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    True, but few of them such that a bicycle will, by the time you've queued to obtain it, make a massive difference over walking.
     
  19. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    It is interesting to note that a lot of the Boris Bike-style cycle hire schemes like in Paris, London, Liverpool etc. are located in cities where cycling is not very popular. They don't have such schemes in Amsterdam or Copenhagen, for example.
     
  20. dk1

    dk1 Established Member

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    Then again on the AGA network it could create jobs to help Government targets. Somebody needs to dust them down through an astonishing lack of use.
     
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