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. marks87

    marks87 Established Member

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    Very odd. I tried a few other examples but there was no obvious pattern.

    The difference is that there's already a "bloody cyclists" mentality so poor behaviour can reinforce that perception amongst those who already hold it.
     
  2. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

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    Number-takers are not exactly loved either! But about them too, the"collective guilt" mentality is just as sick and should be challenged not embraced. We know where that can lead!
     
  3. Doctor Fegg

    Doctor Fegg Member

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    I'm not sure if you've ever tried to fold up a pushchair which has a baby in it. They don't take very kindly to it.
     
  4. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Er, remove the baby first? But quite a lot of modern ones allow you to remove the "cot" bit and put it somewhere else then collapse the frame - that type are ideal for car travel and so are very popular.
     
  5. Doctor Fegg

    Doctor Fegg Member

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    Removing a baby from a pushchair tends to wake them up. Waking a baby up tends to induce noise. Fellow passengers tend not to appreciate said noise.
     
  6. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    Indeed they don't appreciate it (neither the baby/toddler waking up nor the fellow passengers).

    As a parent you do it one way, people moan. Do it the other way, people still moan. You really can't win.
     
  7. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

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    And that's how you feel despite people being much more tolerant of babies than bicycles!
     
  8. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    Very much depends on the person. Some people love babies around irrespective of how much noise they make; others huff, tut and make glances should they so much as cough (yes, the latter happened to me when the toddler descended into a sudden coughing fit)
     
  9. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

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    Sure, there's always some, but people on average are nicer to them and Channel 5 doesn't put shows like "Babies - scourge in the streets?" on at prime time.
     
  10. al78

    al78 Established Member

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    Ha ha, I haven't ever seen a Daily Mail rant about babies either.
     
  11. Matt_pool

    Matt_pool Member

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    Bikes should be allowed on board trains, but only in designated spaces. If there are no spaces left, then tough, get the next train.

    This is a big problem on Merseyrail where the 507's and 508's have designated cycle spaces. They also have designated wheelchair/pram spaces. But what you find is that people but their bikes in the wheelchair/pram space. Then when someone gets on with a pram they end up having to stand in the door vestibule because the anonymous cyclist won't move his/her bike.

    And during rush hour, when the bike/wheelchair/pram spaces are all taken up, the guard allows more people with bikes on.

    On a couple of occasions I've seen up to three bikes in the door vestibules on already crowded trains, and the bikes must take up the space of 8 or 9 people who are forced to cram in like sardines with their noses in each others armpits.

    Surely having so many bikes on board is a health and safety hazard and something that the guard should keep an eye on.

    I remember on one occasion a particularly lazy cyclist got on with his bike at Brunswick and somehow managed to squeeze on, making the cattle wagon conditions even worse. He then got off 1 stop later at Liverpool Central! Okay, he might have been changing there to the Wirral Line, but seriously, next time cycle the 3/4 of a mile from Brunswick to Central!
     
  12. Tomos y Tanc

    Tomos y Tanc Member

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    So far as I can make out all the talk here has been about bikes on busy trains and lines. It's worth remembering that some rural services, like those on the HoW line, regard cyclists and ramblers as part of their customer base and positively encourage people to bring bikes.
     
  13. tpjm

    tpjm Member

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    1. CIS screen should put people in the right place. Even if they don’t, surely seeing the bike symbol next to coach A means you then look for Coach A, just like you would with a seat reservation. Big symbols on the side of the train also help.

    2. Bikes can be booked at the point of ticket sale through the TPE website and can be reserved after the sale via various channels, including booking office and social media.

    3. Just standing there and waiting doesn’t really command any control. Asking is one small step to getting you bike in safely.
     
  14. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

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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.
     
  15. Train Maniac

    Train Maniac Member

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    Quite simply, Yes! But we need way more spaces
    As has already been mentioned, it would certainly help if they had a giant bicycle vinyl on the side of the train. Southeastern 375's have a space (im assuming thats what its there for) opposite the loo designated by a maroon stripe above the window. However when there is another persons bike there it becomes a bit of a predicament as you are left with a space between the doors which is not ideal in the slightest.
    I struggle with social interactions but i suppose a more outgoing person would ask if its OK to put there bike on top?
     
  16. ashkeba

    ashkeba Member

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    A few rubbish train companies have that rule, but even there, the guard can allow more on if they deem it safe.

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

    And would both wheelchair and cycle spaces be marked by a small square by or on the carriage door, as in other Abellio-operated companies?

    Do most of the passengers introduce themselves to you as they board, or is describing only the cyclist as "anonymous" just another part of alienating them?

    The guard is always right. Even when they're wrong, they're right until you can appeal it later.

    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?

    Three bikes will pack bars-saddle-bars into a space about 1.8m long by 0.65m wide. Try fitting 9 people in that. Even just on plain area, that's only 1.17sq.m and I remember complaints about the class 700s only allowing 0.25sq.m per standing person and 9 people in that space would be about half that!

    Surely having so many bikes on board is a health and safety hazard and something that the guard should keep an eye on.

    Maybe the bike or rider was broken rather than lazy but in that case, I would secure the bike or wait for a quieter train. Or maybe they got off after one stop because they realised they should wait?
     
  17. hooverboy

    hooverboy Member

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    the solution would appear to be bike tickets..allowed on off peak services only.

    I think they have something similar in germany.
    the bike ticket is also €5 or something like that.

    same penalties apply for violation as would be a normal train ticket.
     
  18. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    When do you recall being the last time you were injured by a bicycle on a train?
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    The Marston Vale too - the 230s were specifically designed to take a large number of bicycles.
     
  20. Doctor Fegg

    Doctor Fegg Member

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    It's delightful how "health and safety" is something to be deplored when it impacts your own hobby (HST droplights, barrow crossings, etc. etc.) but something to trot out at an instant when other people's hobbies are concerned.
     
  21. Sleeperwaking

    Sleeperwaking Member

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    The only time I've taken a bike on a train in the last decade was for a cycling holiday in Scotland - we had to make an unplanned trip on the train from Kingussie to Aviemore (we were a bit too optimistic about how much time / energy was required for that day's route) but it was a really pleasant experience - the ScotRail guard was friendly and directed us to the cycle storage area, I think she insisted on personally strapping up the bikes. The planned train journeys were either done on off peak services (350s in/out of Euston - pretty deserted so no issues fitting the bikes on, no reservations required) or on the Caledonian Sleeper, whose website is set up for cycle reservations as I imagine they get a lot of leisure cyclists. I probably got more exercise on that holiday than in 6 months of being stuck behind a desk! We did consider driving to Scotland instead, but it ended up much easier by train (on routes where either no reservations were required, or where the operator positively encourages cyclists). Mandatory cycle reservations on off-peak services would definitely put me off doing something similar in the future - I struggle with time-keeping so tend to buy open tickets as otherwise I get very paranoid / stressed about missing the booked train, and that's no way to start a holiday.

    With respect to peak services, on the one hand I do feel that someone who can afford a season ticket to commute by train ought to be able to afford either a folding bike (a reasonably priced, non-Brompton make) or two £30 cheap bikes. However, I have taken a bike on the train at peak times for a one-off situation (travelling every day to a one week training course somewhere near York racecourse). something I did a long time ago when I didn't have a car, and cycling the 4 miles to Doncaster station / 3 miles from York station seemed much easier than overcoming my deep seated anxiety about using buses, particularly for something I absolutely had to arrive on time for. But then the IC225s had a nice capacious DVT for storing bikes and the biggest problem was finding the guard to open it up for you (I can't remember if I had to reserve a space or not). Not sure if it would be as easy on an Azuma. On balance I think it should be possible to take cycles on peak trains but with some controls (reservation required, limit on maximum number of cycles), otherwise you could end up disproportionately affecting certain passengers (e.g. people on a low income making a one-off journey, teenagers without cars).
     
  22. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Member

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    Not really very practical if the child is supposed to be travelling somewhere with the parent
     
  23. Class83

    Class83 Member

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    Provision of bike spaces, or indeed space for any other luggage/prams (wheelchairs are not optional) which occupy carriage space is part of a judgement about encouraging people to use the railway as a regular mode of transport. The railway is competing with other transport modes and if a cyclist is unable to take their bike on some journeys away for the weekend then they will likely buy a car, or a second car for their family. Once they have bought a car, the marginal cost of using it is generally lower than rail fares so the railway needs to keep the incentive for any given passenger to buy a car as low as possible if they wish to increase passenger use. The railway needs to be as passenger focused as possible, not sure if it's been studied, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a strong, positive correlation between people who cycle and people who travel by train.

    Peak time commuter route restrictions are understandable, but outwith that as far as possible capacity should be provided. Solutions such as Scotrail and the 153s are great and more non compliant DMUs should be re-purposed this way, again not just for bikes, but skis, tents, rucksacks. Anyone who has had the misfortune of being on a Pendolino the week before Christmas will know the shambles that the lack of luggage racks creates (not many bikes involved) a pair of flip up seats at the end of each carriage which could be converted to a luggage rack at such times would be a good plan.
     
  24. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    Try wearing one for more than a couple of hours straight* and see how your back feels afterwards....a pram is useful for putting the kid down for a bit! Plus all the nappies, wipes, bottles, clothes...that need to accompany you too. Plus slings aren't that comfortable to wear (or indeed for the kid) if you'd like to sit down yourself...

    *It's OK for guys, having not had to physically lug a child round inside them for 9 months without being able to put it down.


    To be fair, the majority of people are at least "quietly tolerant".
     
  25. Matt_pool

    Matt_pool Member

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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!!!
     
  26. Matt_pool

    Matt_pool Member

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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.
     
  27. CaptainHaddock

    CaptainHaddock Established Member

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    The problem with cycle reservations is that, if you're out on a day's ride, an unexpected mishap such as a puncture can cause you to miss your booked train home. Even if there are no mishaps, why shouldn't cyclists travelling on open tickets have the same rights as non-cyclists? Often, if the weather's turned out nice and I'm feeling fit, I might decide to cycle a little bit further and get a later train back. So the common sense solution is surely to give cyclists the option of reserving to guarantee a place, but letting them turn up and go as well, subject to space being available.

    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!

    As I've mentioned on other cyclist-bashing threads, cycles take up far less space when stored vertically so carriages should be designed so that the cycle space is a) vertical and b) impractical to use for sitting or storing luggage. Possibly the only decent aspect of Cross Country's Voyagers is that they do have vertical cycle spaces and as a consequence it's rare to see anything but bikes in them!
     
  28. RLBH

    RLBH Member

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    Except that that makes the cycle storage unusable for anything other than a conventional cycle with an able-bodied adult rider.
     
  29. initiation

    initiation Member

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    This. I cycle every day and take my bike on the train perhaps once a month. It is very difficult for myself to lift up my bike and hang it vertically. I avoid travelling on the IETs when I have my bike for this reason.
     
  30. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    The problem with that is that a cyclist without a reservation might load their bike on the train because it looks like there's space available... but how do they know the space isn't actually reserved starting at the following station? That could lead to some pretty severe conflicts when cyclists with reservations find they can't board because unreserved cycles got put on a couple of stations further back. That's why I would prefer a system of compulsory reservations but where you can reserve any time up to the time of departure (say, with a well-designed smartphone app) or at a machine at the station.

    Actually I'd say the root of the problem isn't so much the reservation system, but the fact that there just aren't enough cycle spaces on many trains to cover random peaks in demand. (Unlike seats, where most trains off-peak have more than enough seats - or at least standing room - to cover day-to-day random variations in demand). Provide enough cycle spaces to cover average demand plus typical random variations in demand, and then it will become much easier for cyclists to travel. The reservation system certainly needs to be improved, but really the reservation system is just a (rather poor) sticking plaster over the real problem of not enough spaces.

    (Actually, I do suspect the current situation is suppressing demand considerably on many services. I wouldn't be surprised if - if enough spaces were provided - rail companies would quickly find that they get quite a few additional cycling passengers - although still only a small proportion of total passengers).
     

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