Should trains have bike spaces at all?

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

Should trains have bike spaces at all?

  1. Yes

    224 vote(s)
    62.0%
  2. No

    72 vote(s)
    19.9%
  3. It's obviously complicated and context dependent

    65 vote(s)
    18.0%
  1. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    People tend to take them mostly where that doesn't exist. Very rare to see someone boarding a LNR train with a bike at Euston unless there's a cycling event on (most people would leave it at the station), but rather more common to see it for intermediate journeys - and you see loads on the Marston Vale.
     
  2. js1000

    js1000 Member

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    Yes - but they should banned at peak time as it takes standing space which could otherwise be given to fare-paying passengers or a small extra charge with a reservation system to take one on-board.
     
  3. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

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    Have to disagree with this. I spend hundreds of pounds on trains going to and from bike rides every year as do many other cyclists. Generally this is on quiet off-peak trains. If bikes are banned outright that'll result in a loss of pure discretionary fare income to the TOCs.
     
  4. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

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    Generally there is already a ban at peak times, at least on commuter area lines.
     
  5. tpjm

    tpjm Member

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    I don't ride a bike and wouldn't dream of taking one on the train, although I recognise there is a market for it, both in the leisure and commuter sector, so I'm happy to tolerate it.

    BUT... Cyclists must follow the rules.
    1. If the bikes go in Coach A, put your bike in Coach A, not the vestibule of Coach B or the PRM area.
    2. If you know you need to have a reservation, get one, and don't argue that you "don't have time" because you're "a Doctor who cares for people suffering from Cancer" - genuine story. This is concerning a TOC who offer reservations up to 15 mins before you travel and the individual wanted priority over customers who did have reservations.
    3. If you get on and the flip-down seats are in use, ask the people sitting in them to vacate so you can safely store the bike that you have a reservation for - that way there's no other travellers at risk.
    4. If you can't get said reservation because the train is already at max capacity, don't force your way on and cause the Conductor to have to ask you to leave, delaying the train.
    5. And for God's sake... don't give ANY member of rail staff any abuse for upholding these rules that attempt to balance positive travel for everybody with the ability to carry bikes.
    ^ All of the above is based on real world scenarios I've witnessed on my commute in the last couple of months.
     
  6. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    Another way of looking at it is this: On many trains, the dedicated cycle space can double up as storage space for suitcases, or as a place for people to stand in (particularly at peak hours when the train is full and bikes are banned anyway). Given that the trend is for carriages to have fewer seats anyway so they can accommodate more people standing at busy times, doesn't it seem sensible to arrange that some of that standing space can be used for cycles off peak?

    Many trains that I travel on off-peak have something like 1/4 or 1/3 of the seats occupied. If that train has 2 bicycle spaces and the same proportion of bike spaces as seats are occupied, that would equate to no bikes quite a lot of the time. But I'm pretty sure you wouldn't argue for reducing the number of seats because 'demand isn't there' ;)
     
  7. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    In answer to the original question - yes, of course!
     
  8. Doctor Fegg

    Doctor Fegg Member

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    If you believe that the railway must be operated on a pure revenue basis, then, Mr Serpell, I fear you may be disappointed by the shape of the current railway network. I invite you to start a new thread about closing the Heart of Wales, Settle-Carlisle, and most of the Scottish lines.
     
  9. JohnMcL7

    JohnMcL7 Member

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    I find this is a problem with a lot of companies and Scotrail seem to be one of the few (the sleeper is another) that you can use their website, many others you can't seem to. I was trying to book my bike onto the Virgin train to London and I couldn't find any way to check availability and when I contacted Virgin, they weren't very helpful either and the outcome was I couldn't book onto any train despite booking months in advance.

    I think bikes and trains are great combinations as the train can do the longer part of the journey and then I've still got the flexibility of the bike at the end point. It's much more hassle to take the bike on the plane and I wouldn't trust them with it whereas with the bike I can usually load it on myself and keep an eye on it.
     
  10. TheBigD

    TheBigD Member

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    Preety sure BR/Regional Railways introduced a flat £3 charge for bikes when 156s started to take over regional lines. Was certainly in place on the Birmingham-East Anglia route.
     
  11. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    ... and do they? Not in my experience. Non-folding push chairs should also be subject to a small charge then, and of course unfolded cycles and push chairs should then have an excess charge applied.
     
  12. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

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    1. How can they tell? Even where staff (Anglia) or signs (GWR) tell you where to stand on the platform, it's often wrong and it's not easy on most trains to move bikes between carriages.
    2. Others have described how rarely bookable bike reservations are now.
    3. The replies from people sitting in the bike spaces are often short and four lettered.
    4. Never seen that.
    5. Agreed.

    If you don't take bikes on trains, maybe you don't know how easy it is to end up in the wrong carriage or simply not in the bike spaces. Maybe we need a few TOC or ROSCO MDs who take bikes in trains and this would be sorted sooner.
     
  13. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    Very few prams/buggies/strollers don't collapse or disassemble in some way. Perhaps only those elaborate traditional baby carriage things do.

    Anyway, I'm not sure (unlike buses) there is a *requirement* anywhere to do so, unless is it is a replacement bus service. Obviously it is courteous to do so if the space is needed, where practical (i.e. not if I'm going to wake up a toddler who'll only then spend the next 15 minutes pissing off the entire carriage by bawling because he's been woken up. I would make an exception to this if it was preventing, say, a wheelchair user from boarding, of course. In most cases, I can sort of stand over a pram anyway to minimise the combined space we're taking up.)

    Nevertheless, I've only been on one train journey (during severe disruption) where folding a pram would have been absolutely necessary.... and we were travelling without it anyway!
     
  14. marks87

    marks87 Established Member

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    I've been able to use the ScotRail website to book a bike space on LNER services.

    It works for Virgin as well: as a test I just tried Preston-London for a couple of weeks hence and was able to select a bike.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Bromley boy

    Bromley boy Established Member

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    But those are all variations on the same theme - bike to the station, train into town, then your own bike/hired bike/other public transport.

    I don’t see why you think that suggestion encourages driving. It certainly wouldn’t in the London area, where virtually nobody who works centrally could feasibly drive to work, even if they wanted to. Their choice is between cycling to their local station or taking the car - and good station cycle storage facilities will encourage the former.

    Trains, particularly commuter trains, are primarily intended to carry as many people as possible. Bikes, used by a small minority, are rightly secondary to this purpose (and to pushchairs and wheelchairs) and are already banned in the rush hour.

    The money is simply not there to change the infrastructure; you want longer trains/double deck trains? Where are billions going to come from now - not in future - to raise bridges and lengthen platforms?!
     
    Last edited: 13 Aug 2019
  16. Smethwickian

    Smethwickian Member

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    National Express only accepts folding bikes, and only when boxed or bagged to ensure no damage can be caused to other luggage.
    Back to trains, and I agree with previous comments that recent generations of rolling stock have included some examples of poor provision for cycles, luggage and buggies alike. All should be catered for to make rail truly accessible, provide a comprehensive public service and be competitive with private transport.
     
  17. DanTrain

    DanTrain Member

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    Cycling reservations really need to be managed in a more centralised manner. On a recent trip to the South coast, I had to check the policies of no fewer than four seperate TOCs, each of which had a different way of booking bikes (had to use WhatsApp for TPE becuase they don't have a form on their website!) and each TOC has different bike spaces as well. This makes it very hard to book and then hard to work out what to do with your bike when you arrive. We're supposed to be encouraging active, eco transport (train and bike is a really easy combo in general and an efficient way to get around I find) but the TOCs do their best it seems to try and put you off!

    Additionally, because XC had no more reservations on the way back, I ended up having to put my bike in the unreserved space for the entire journey (Bournemouth - Stockport) and so no-one else could take an unreserved bike on the train for its entire journey...hardly efficient!
     
  18. CaptainHaddock

    CaptainHaddock Established Member

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    I think we need to differentiate between commuting cyclists and leisure cyclists as they're completely different markets.

    In the case of commuting cyclists it does make sense for them to cycle to their local station, lock their bike up at the "cycle hub" then get the train into work rather than taking their bike on the train. Although I'm a keen cyclist myself, it does annoy me to see arrogant cyclists trying to force their bikes onto a packed commuter train when there simple isn't room for them. Cyclists like that give us all a bad name!

    But the leisure market is totally different. Certainly in the scenic parts of Northern England where I cycle, the present system of just turning up and putting your bike on the train if there's room works perfectly well 99% of the time and most leisure cyclists have the common sense to avoid busy peak time trains.

    One further point - on many long distance services the cycle spaces are in the front or rear cab where passengers wouldn't be allowed anyway so cyclists wouldn't be denying other passengers a place on the train.
     
  19. smsm1

    smsm1 Member

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    If you are travelling with children, you need a specially adapted bike, which the hire schemes don't support

    Bike and Go is a bit of an awkward proposition. Have to wait at a ticket office, and it can take several minutes to get the keys. Quite a slow process. The pricing can sometimes be reasonable, more often I find Plusbus wins out depending on the journey and situation. There's also no discounts for regular usage like Boris bikes have.

    Boris bikes have the problem of finding a free docking location to place the bike, and hoping that you have one free near to your destination. More docking locations would help with this.
     
  20. al78

    al78 Established Member

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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.
     
  21. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Member

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    I somewhat disagree. A cyclist can use a train without taking a bike. A new mother can't without a pram
     
  22. ricoblade

    ricoblade Member

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    Not that bad of an idea :E
     
  23. Syllopsium

    Syllopsium Member

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    There definitely should be bike provision, it's good for people to use the countryside.

    However, the peak bike use restriction appears to be limited to London and Cardiff. I'd change this to everywhere. It's a pain in the neck having someone get on a train carrying a bike that's taking up about four people's worth of space, or seeing them complain they can't get on the train as it's too full of people. At peak time either don't bring a bike, or use a folding one, normal bikes are antisocial.
     
  24. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    that would make long distance journeys tricky, e.g. York to Cornwall. I'd have to break my journey for several hours presumably.
     
  25. JohnRegular

    JohnRegular Member

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    'Cyclists' are a very broad group, almost as broad as 'passengers' or 'motorists', so it is a shame to see such negative generalistions made about them. To suggest a majority of cyclists are happy to block vestibules with their bikes is false; I expect that one is much more likely to notice a bike when it's blocking your way rather than when it's tucked away in the proper place!

    I expect most (but not all) cyclists will avoid bringing their bike onto a train if it isn't necessary. Few will bother with taking their bike one stop on a short distance service, why even have a bike if you won't ride it a few miles? Furthermore, I think it is reasonable to charge a small amount for a bike ticket/reservation; most people will happily pay a few quid for a guarantee of a bike space, with this also deterring people from taking unnecessary short journies with bikes, and justifying the provision of bike spaces to passengers who never use them.
     
  26. Kingspanner

    Kingspanner Member

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    JohnRegular said
    I expect most (but not all) cyclists will avoid bringing their bike onto a train if it isn't necessary. Few will bother with taking their bike one stop on a short distance service, why even have a bike if you won't ride it a few miles?

    Well, for example, I live at Dinsdale which is a 24 mile round trip to MBR and back, and involves a very cycle unfriendly stretch of the Airport-A66
    link road that I avoid like the plague. Plus at my age and my job, it is a bit far.
    Whereas, bike on the train to Eaglescliffe or Thornaby, return about £5, and suddenly it is a 16 or 8 mile round trip, mostly on cyclepaths or traffic calmed roads, and with a splendid 2 miles along the banks of the Tees thrown in for free.
    Those couple of stops are truly enabling.
    Mind you, you can't get on in the late afternoons in the summer for families with prams coming back from Redcar. Fair enough, I work round them.
     
  27. JohnMcL7

    JohnMcL7 Member

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    Curious, I just tried booking again on LNER from Inverness to London or Inverness to Manchester but it still doesn't work the bike reserved space remains greyed out no matter what train I choose even months in advance:

    https://photos.smugmug.com/Other/General/i-VHVN39S/0/96601110/L/Scotrail_Bike1-L.png

    When I choose a Scotrail service, I get the option to reserve the bike:

    https://photos.smugmug.com/Other/General/i-sgNNcnn/0/63a19560/M/Scotrail_Bike2-M.png
     
  28. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

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    So those baby slings are banned from the UK or UK trains?

    And what about leaving the child with family or babysitters at the origin station and maybe hiring a different baby at the other end ;) sorry couldn't resist...
     
  29. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

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    Do the idiots walking onto the tracks to get train numbers give all rail enthusiasts a bad name? Do passengers obstructing doors closing give all passengers a bad name?

    It only works because the uncertainty of being stranded deters most users. This is not "perfectly well" I think. Ticketing would be better.
     
  30. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    This doesn’t really stand up. Especially in rural areas, if someone is making a journey where their ultimate origin and/or destination is further than walking distance from the station (either in terms of distance or time) then using a cycle is quite probably the most sensible option. For someone without a car it may well be the only immediately viable option barring a taxi (good luck in some rural areas!). If we’re going to start ranking people in terms of importance based on what they bring with them then it could said that *everyone* could use a car or taxi for their journey and not need to take up precious space on a train.

    For those who gripe about cycles taking up space on trains, remember that this quite possibly means a car parking space not taken up, which at some stations can be very scarce indeed, and for a London journey the volume of people cycling onwards upon arrival at the terminus will be freeing up a considerable amount of space on the Underground.

    I know cycling is a controversial topic where everyone seems to have their own personal opinion, often without much first-hand experience of the topic in hand (a bit like certain jobs where everyone seems to know better than the people who actually do the job day-in-day-out), however sometimes people should be careful what they wish for.
     
    Last edited: 13 Aug 2019

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