What's supposed to happen if there's unscheduled bustitution and you have a bike?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by stut, 28 Nov 2011.

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  1. stut

    stut Established Member

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    Sadly not entirely hypothetical. I was reminded of this by the 'bikes on the line' incident yesterday.

    Say there's something goes badly wrong with the line you're travelling on, you have a bike with you (as it's necessary for that particular commute) and your train terminates due to line problems ahead.

    The obvious answer is "ride it", but if we're talking long distances, in the evening, on unlit roads, that's not always possible.

    Buses come to pick up the passengers, and a few (going to odd destinations) get sent away in taxis. You can't use either. The station staff keep saying "we haven't forgotten about you" as you wait. Eventually, though, they do, and they disappear. There are now no trains, no staff and no buses.

    This happened to me a couple of months ago. Eventually, I had to phone my wife (after she finished work) to drive up to meet me. The bike won't go in the car, so I had to leave it overnight outside the station (something I'd never do with this bike) and pay to return the next day.

    The question is... what, if anything, should have happened?
     
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  3. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    This is a really difficult question to answer. Maybe you prefer not to name the TOC, but did you complain or write in to Customer Relations/Services?

    I've honestly never even thought about this eventuality before and I'm not sure how to answer it.
     
  4. IanD

    IanD Established Member

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    Many years ago (1985?) I was returning from Preston to Newcastle and the last train from Carlisle was cancelled at Haltwhistle due to a signalling problem (I think!). A bus was arranged for most passengers but for me and my bike they called a local taxi firm who sent an estate car and transported me directly to my front door . Not sure what they'd do now though!
     
  5. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    doing a very much one-way journey* from Poole to Edinburgh with a bike several years ago (2003, in fact) got to Bournemouth to find that the track was melting somewhere in the New Forest. Had a bike reservation for the Bournemouth-Edinburgh leg. Managed to persuade the coach driver taking us to Southampton to take my bike in the hold, on the verbal understanding that he was not responsible for any damage to it.

    I'm really not sure what I'd have done, or for that matter what VXC would have done, if this hadn't been possible.

    *had a summer job in Poole. Was going back to Edinburgh for University.
     
  6. stut

    stut Established Member

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    It was FCC. I did email, and got a boilerplate response about disruption and replacement bus services.
     
  7. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    ...Which I assume didn't answer the question directly? <(
     
  8. stut

    stut Established Member

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    To be fair to them, I know am fully acquainted with what I can and can't travel with during engineering works :roll:

    I dropped it after that - too busy to pursue, really, and the great and good of Huntingdon had thankfully left my bike alone overnight.
     
  9. DaveNewcastle

    DaveNewcastle Established Member Fares Advisor

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    I was travelling on a service (Newcastle - London) with my bike a couple of years ago where busses were being used to carry pax between Peterborough and London (or to somewhere north of London, I can't recall). This was unexpected and the busses were arranged after I'd boarded the train.

    Fortunately perhaps, the disruption only affected electric trains on that occasion. The ever-helpful platform staff at Peterborough made sure I was carried onwards on a HST, with the bike.

    I've been told that replacement busses will not carry bikes, but I expect that some friendy 'negotiation' might resolve any difficulties and are always worth a try. I don't think there's a consistent view by the coach operators, and while a coach company may not commit themselves to conveying bikes (and the TOCs won't require it), individual coach operators and/or their drivers may be more flexible.
     
  10. Orange Box

    Orange Box Member

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    For planned buses at least the best bet is to ask the driver and bus co-ordinator. However there has recently been a crackdown with staff expected not to take bikes on the booked buses - if there is a standby bus best practise is to put the bike and party on that and run as an extra.
     
  11. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    For the avoidance of doubt (for those who may be unsure), the National Rail Conditions of Carriage do allow TOCs and bus drivers the right to refuse carriage of a bike on "replacement road transport".

    And Condition 49 states:

     
  12. stut

    stut Established Member

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    I wouldn't have particularly expected the bus driver who turned up (there was one bus that turned up in the two hours I was waiting there) to accommodate a bike - it was an old-school single-decker - no hold, no wheelchair space.

    To be fair to the station staff, they did ask, too, and tried to find out what they could do. In the end, though, they got no answer and just left.
     
  13. jcollins

    jcollins Veteran Member

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    In Ireland Bus Eireann allow passengers to put bikes in the luggage compartment of coaches.

    Back to the original question if the passenger had no reservation then the operator aren't obliged to carry to bike as it's subject to available space. If they did have a reservation then it'll probably depend on the wording of the passengers charter about what should be done.
     
  14. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Just got back from Las Vegas and was surprised to see that the buses there had space for 2 bikes on the bendy buses (inside, lifted up and hung down sideways) and 2 or 3 on the outside of the double deckers (at the front, slotted in to racks as you might fit on the back of a car).

    Even more amazing was the fact that I actually saw people cycling. In America!!

    What's more, the double decker buses (with two staircases) were quite a bit longer than ours - so there was a lot more seating. Are the Boris Buses longer than normal?
     
  15. stut

    stut Established Member

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    IIRC, the Stagecoach X5 does, too. Never been sure if there are proper restraints, though (I wouldn't entrust an unsecured bike to coach drivers).

    So they can quite happily turf you off in the middle of nowhere, with no more services, and then tough luck?

    And they wonder why so few people use intermodal transport...
     
  16. button_boxer

    button_boxer Established Member

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    More common in the west than the east as far as I can tell. They had the same arrangement with bike racks on the front of the bus in Seattle and Portland Oregon when I visited there a couple of years ago. Portland and Seattle are very pro-public-transport by US standards, and according to Wikipedia "approximately 8% of commuters bike to work in Portland, the highest proportion of any major U.S. city and about 10 times the national average".
     
  17. stut

    stut Established Member

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    Indeed, many places in California have this too (including much of incredibly car-centric LA). There's some very good cycling facilities in areas like San Jose and San Diego.

    Of course, it's a lot easier to let bikes on public transport when it's vastly undersubscribed...
     
  18. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    That's the point really. The Netherlands obviously has the best cycle facilities in the world, and the highest cycle rate in any rich country. However, buses do not carry bikes and trains don't carry bikes in peak hour and off-peak levy a charge for doing so. This is because they would be too overwhelmed with bikes otherwise. Instead they try to accommodate cycle parking at stations and village bus stops but despite building vast parking areas the parking is still full.
     
  19. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    When cycling in Scotland in May, I was impressed to note that bikes were conveyed on Stagecoach bus services in the area. These were largely operated by coaches and the drivers were more than happy to accept them in the hold.

    On another occasion, due to a delay to my service on EC, I missed the last connection from Doncaster to Sheffield. I was a bit worried about my bike, but the black cab that EC ordered was happy to convey myself and my bike! It was a bit of a squeeze but considering my bike was is relatively big it was pretty good going really.
     
  20. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    The buses in Las Vegas were incredibly well used, and not just along the strip. They're regular, clean and very efficient and they even have their own dedicated routes in places - with priority over other vehicles at lights. When it comes to bike owners using the racks, I only saw one person use one (outside on the double decker) but we weren't using the buses that much given how easy it is to actually walk.

    I was very surprised about the public transport as when I went last time (over 10 years ago), it was car or taxi only - and the monorail that was being built. That, from what I was told, is underused and probably only important when there's a large convention in town.

    I may be going back in a month for a large convention, so if the buses were already very busy in mid November then I can imagine them being ridiculous when the CES is on!

    I couldn't tell who made the bendy buses, but while they looked different to our London bendy buses on the outside - a lot of interior fixtures, including the doors and the door sounds (hustle alarm) were the same. They were hybrid buses too.

    What is odd is that they no longer have a railway to get people from LA to LV, although there's talk of reopening it as a way of cutting car usage. They do seem to be quite keen on reducing emissions, which probably makes up for the huge electricity bill lighting up the strip. :)
     
  21. stut

    stut Established Member

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    There are a few exceptions in the Netherlands - you can take yur bike on metros and sneltrams (light rail, effectively) whenever there's space free. Again, though, you pay a supplement (the concessionary rate for the journey you're making).

    The "bike at either end" model works well, unless you happen to work at a number of different locations. There's always the option of folding bikes - up to a few miles. In my case, I was cycling 7 miles out of Peterborough and wouldn't do that on a Brompton!

    However, the Netherlands has the wonderful OV-fiets network for such eventualities. Bargain cycle hire at most station! The DB CallABike scheme - a hybrid city/national thing - is starting to be very promising too.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Similarly, I found the public transport in San Diego very well used when I was working there. Thing is, though, it finishes up far too early - many lines so much so, you couldn't use them unless you had a 5:30pm finish! They also have a habit, in the US, of relying on awfull designed "transit centers" - bus stations in the middle of nowhere that you seem to always end up having to change at for any worthwhile journey - including to/from airports.

    I often suspect there's a strong taxi/car lobby still trying to make public transport as difficult as possible in many parts of the country.
     
  22. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    The Las Vegas monorail wasn't really designed as public transportation in the sense that we think of it. it's largely designed to get people into the casino's that paid for it! I haven't been there for a few years, but I was there when it was being constructed, and then again when it was being tested. All of the locals said it was a gimmick for visitors!

    IIRC the Amtrak passenger service ceased around 1996, and there have been various proposals ever since to reintroduce some sort of service, if only to and from LA (I believe the route runs to Salt Lake City?).

    Anyway, back on topic! I think part of the problem with cycles is that where replacement road services are provided no one can be sure what sort of vehicle might be provided. If there is a traditional coach, there may well be space for a bike or two in the underfloor luggage compartment, but I've seen (and been on) minibuses and old style single deckers with no step free access. I think it might be difficult to get bikes on these types of bus!
     
  23. stut

    stut Established Member

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    Its real value comes in the height of summer, when you can go from casino to casino (well, they're 'resorts', really) without leaving anywhere air-conditioned. And when it's an average of 40C outside, this can be rather useful!

    I understand the extension to downtown LV has been shelved in favour of the controversial extention to nearby McCarran Airport. Controversial because the local taxi drivers are furious! The planning phase seems to be petering out, though.

    The nearest station to LV is Needles, CA - there is a 'Thruway' bus that connects, but it's a good 100 miles (c.f. 260 from LA direct). But there could be a call for a direct rail link rather like the ACES service to Atlantic City.

    And that's understandable to planned engineering works, as you can work around it. But when it's emergency engineering works, you're (IME) completely high and dry.
     
  24. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    Yes, it can be very hot there. On my first ever visit I walked from Luxor to the Sahara in the June sun, although I did stop a lot on the way! And, of course, I drank a lot of water, and wore a hat!

    When I had my Rail Pass I just used the Greyhound bus to LA. To get to Vegas I went from the central coast via Bakersfield and the thruway coach. The times at Needles weren't very convenient, so I was happy that the pass could be used on Greyhound as well.

    True, though when there is an emergency although there's more chance of getting whatever vehicles happen to be lying around not being used, I would have thought that there would also be q`uite afew buses required, which would hopefully mean that at least one would be able to convey bicycles, even if it was a bit of a push!
     
  25. laphroaig

    laphroaig Member

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    This was an issue for me last summer.

    I was travelling from Watford Junction to Criccieth changing at Birmingham Int. with the bike (and reservations) and all was well until Shrewsbury, where we were turfed out of the ATW 158, which then headed off empty to try to rescue a failed unit near Welshpool, something to do with the ERTMS methinks. Station staff told us to wait for the train 2hrs later, but line was still blocked even after then so coaches were eventually summoned to take at least two train loads of very delayed people to Machynlleth.

    I was near the front of the queue but coach driver saw my bike and said 'no chance you're getting that bike in here, need to keep space for baggage', like my precious bike is somehow less important than suitcases! I was not particularly happy about this!

    However I have to say hats off to the staff at Shrewsbury, they sorted the situation as well as they could, under very trying circumstances, and sourced a cab for me, my bike and a couple of ladies who also couldn't fit in the coaches, and we headed direct over the hills for Criccieth / Pwllheli cutting out a large corner and getting there way ahead of those who'd been stuck on the coach. Shame I missed the scenic coast run on the train but hey, mustn't grumble..
     
  26. Bungle73

    Bungle73 On Moderation

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    This has has happened to me twice, but both times were a few years ago. The first time a regular coach was provided and they just put my bike in the hold. The second time it was just a standard double decker bus, and they just let me get on and stand with the bike in the gangway. This was with Southeastern, or their predecessors.

    That's ridiculous. Conceivably that could leave someone stranded somewhere.

    Their roads are a lot bigger than the ones in London.
     
  27. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    What reasonable alternative is there?

    Nobody has actually suggested anything workable, yet.
     
  28. Bungle73

    Bungle73 On Moderation

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    Provide some kind of transport. Otherwise what is someone in that situation supposed to do? It is completely unacceptable to leave passengers stranded somewhere.
     
  29. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    Obviously leaving someone stranded isn't acceptable.

    But what kind of transport would you suggest? And at what cost?
     
  30. Michael.Y

    Michael.Y Established Member

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    Pay* for a taxi; stick the bike in the boot, have it follow the bus. Sorted.

    *TOC pays... obviously!
     
    Last edited: 2 Dec 2011
  31. stut

    stut Established Member

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    You're assuming a bike will fit in the boot. Mine certainly won't fit in most (or else I'd have taken it home in my wife's car, rather than leave it in the station!) It really depends on what cabs are available in that area.
     
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