Post-Covid-19: Could some ferry operators ban cyclists?

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jacobean
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Post-Covid-19: Could some ferry operators ban cyclists?

Postby jacobean » 24 May 2020, 3:00pm

Do you think some ferry operators could ban cyclists post - Covid-19?


This is from the small print from the Brittany Ferries website.

"It feels likely we’ll need to make more tough decisions about foot passengers and cyclists too, there are significant operational hurdles involved in transporting them but again, I’ll keep you updated when final decisions are reached."

Reading between the lines, this sounds like they're planning on banning cyclists :(.




(Source: https://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/info ... ings#tab-4)

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mjr
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Re: Post-Covid-19: Could some ferry operators ban cyclists?

Postby mjr » 24 May 2020, 3:28pm

If they do, it seems like scapegoating. Surely it's easier to disinfect or check a cyclist and a vehicle than a motorist, plus we take up less space, plus we are generally (not universally) more able to use the stairs to reach the passenger accommodation from the vehicle deck, rather than going up in lifts one household at a time.
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jacobean
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Re: Post-Covid-19: Could some ferry operators ban cyclists?

Postby jacobean » 24 May 2020, 3:40pm

mjr wrote:If they do, it seems like scapegoating.


My thoughts exactly!

I know they're a business but it really is a shame if this crisis is used to usher in a cyclist ban.

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TrevA
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Re: Post-Covid-19: Could some ferry operators ban cyclists?

Postby TrevA » 24 May 2020, 4:16pm

Unless they are requiring drivers and passengers to stay with their vehicles, then it makes no sense to ban cyclists. Once everyone has left their vehicle, be it a car or a bike, they are all just passengers.
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ANTONISH
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Re: Post-Covid-19: Could some ferry operators ban cyclists?

Postby ANTONISH » 24 May 2020, 4:17pm

mjr wrote:If they do, it seems like scapegoating. Surely it's easier to disinfect or check a cyclist and a vehicle than a motorist, plus we take up less space, plus we are generally (not universally) more able to use the stairs to reach the passenger accommodation from the vehicle deck, rather than going up in lifts one household at a time.


Their business model is based on motor vehicles - which generates most of their revenue.
It's easier to load and check four passengers in one vehicle than four cyclists - I'm not sure that four cyclists would take less space.
A cyclist still has to be checked in in the same way as a motor vehicle - roughly taking the same time
Some are unwilling to wait their place in the vehicle queue and will overtake a line of vehicles to push in at the front.

Cyclists can be difficult for the deck crew - they don't want to use the designated wheel breaker racks ( I don't want to either), some insist on riding on the vehicle deck even though they are requested not to, some will put their bikes in places where they shouldn't.

It's often reflected in the price - four cyclists will often pay more than one vehicle with four occupants - which is probably fair enough given the extra work load generated.

I've travelled on ferries numerous times both as a cyclist and a motorist so I'm only speaking of what I've seen.

There was a thread on this several years ago - it seems that some operators would really like cyclists and foot passengers to go away - but not on their ferry.
What seriously concerns me is that it restricts the ability of non motorists to travel freely.

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Re: Post-Covid-19: Could some ferry operators ban cyclists?

Postby HobbesOnTour » 24 May 2020, 4:26pm

TrevA wrote:Unless they are requiring drivers and passengers to stay with their vehicles, then it makes no sense to ban cyclists. Once everyone has left their vehicle, be it a car or a bike, they are all just passengers.


On two ferries that I have brought a bike (Holyhead to Dublin & Belfast to Scotland) my bike was stored in someone's office on the car deck. I can fully understand that ferry company's reluctance to do so again.

Could they come up with an alternative? I'm sure they could, but I think it excessive for them to expend their energy on that right now. I'm sure they have bigger priorities.

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TrevA
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Re: Post-Covid-19: Could some ferry operators ban cyclists?

Postby TrevA » 24 May 2020, 4:36pm

The last time I went on a ferry with my bike, was island hopping round the inner Hebrides. There were 12 of us cyclists, travelling in a group, and we just put our bikes on the car deck. Some of these were short hops but some, such as Ardrossan to Arran, Kintyre to Islay and Oban to Mull, were as long as a cross channel ferry crossing.
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Re: Post-Covid-19: Could some ferry operators ban cyclists?

Postby mjr » 24 May 2020, 6:11pm

ANTONISH wrote:
mjr wrote:If they do, it seems like scapegoating. Surely it's easier to disinfect or check a cyclist and a vehicle than a motorist, plus we take up less space, plus we are generally (not universally) more able to use the stairs to reach the passenger accommodation from the vehicle deck, rather than going up in lifts one household at a time.


Their business model is based on motor vehicles - which generates most of their revenue.
It's easier to load and check four passengers in one vehicle than four cyclists - I'm not sure that four cyclists would take less space.
A cyclist still has to be checked in in the same way as a motor vehicle - roughly taking the same time
Some are unwilling to wait their place in the vehicle queue and will overtake a line of vehicles to push in at the front.

I think their business model is based on bigger motor vehicles than private cars: freight.

Cyclists don't check in like cars at Dover. We use the freight check-in. At Harwich, we use the lane with motorcycles. Either way, it's not true to say we have to check in like cars. We are much simpler.

Motorists can often be guilty of queue-jumping and ignoring crew directions too, but of course some cyclists are as daft. I've never seen wheelbenders on a ferry, so they're clearly not necessary and I don't think I'd travel twice by a wheelbender-using ferry if there was another reasonable option.

I don't think the difficulty is reflected in the price. Cyclist prices seem to be mostly flat, not responding to demand like motorist ones.

There was a thread on this several years ago - it seems that some operators would really like cyclists and foot passengers to go away - but not on their ferry.
What seriously concerns me is that it restricts the ability of non motorists to travel freely.

Yes, some ferry operators no longer accept foot passengers (including DFDS from Dover) and some don't accept foot or cycle. This is completely opposite to all sorts of government policies in various countries, so regulator inaction is rather disappointing.
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Re: Post-Covid-19: Could some ferry operators ban cyclists?

Postby Cyril Haearn » 24 May 2020, 6:21pm

That is awful discrimination against people
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Re: Post-Covid-19: Could some ferry operators ban cyclists?

Postby 1982john » 24 May 2020, 8:07pm

This would be two fingers up at the so-called 'get people on bikes' the government are pushing.

Wonder if they could intervene?

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Re: Post-Covid-19: Could some ferry operators ban cyclists?

Postby mattsccm » 25 May 2020, 6:53am

Not discrimination but business. If cyclists were profitable they would be welcome.

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Re: Post-Covid-19: Could some ferry operators ban cyclists?

Postby ANTONISH » 25 May 2020, 9:14am

mjr wrote:I think their business model is based on bigger motor vehicles than private cars: freight.

Cyclists don't check in like cars at Dover. We use the freight check-in. At Harwich, we use the lane with motorcycles. Either way, it's not true to say we have to check in like cars. We are much simpler.

Motorists can often be guilty of queue-jumping and ignoring crew directions too, but of course some cyclists are as daft. I've never seen wheelbenders on a ferry, so they're clearly not necessary and I don't think I'd travel twice by a wheelbender-using ferry if there was another reasonable option.

I don't think the difficulty is reflected in the price. Cyclist prices seem to be mostly flat, not responding to demand like motorist ones.

.


Yes Dover check in is at the freight counter. It still takes someone's time to process.
At Calais cyclists go through with the cars - and there is queue jumping by cyclists.
I've seen motorists change lane to what they perceive to be a faster moving one but actually going to the head of the queue and pushing in ? - not in my experience and in Calais the French army is present and I for one follow their instructions.
Cyclist prices do indeed seem to be flat - no special offers in recent years - there doesn't seem to be much profit in it for the ferry companies.

As has been said if it was lucrative to carry cyclists the ferry companies would encourage them.

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Re: Post-Covid-19: Could some ferry operators ban cyclists?

Postby simonhill » 26 May 2020, 4:43pm

All we can do is monitor it and if necessary start to put pressure on the ferry companies; the Govt; Cycle organisations; environmental pressure groups; etc.

I fear that a bit like after 9/11, all sorts of things will be deemed necessary in the name of Covid. Anyone speaking out will be considered an enemy of the state/people.

Regardless of this, bikes on ferries must be a minute part of their business and if carrying them is more aggro than its worth, then expect them to be ditched (or temporarily sidelined) on the back of Covid. Could be the same on some trains. Interestingly the budget airlines seem to like bikes because they are good earners. A fee of £40+ more than covers the extra handling charges. On a flight with Easyjet last year they published their figures in the in flight magazine. I worked out that on average they carried a bike on 20% of their flights. I imagine this far exceeds any ferry company.

Sad as it may be for many, you may need to fly or drive or be driven (coach) if you want a continental tour.

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Re: Post-Covid-19: Could some ferry operators ban cyclists?

Postby Cyril Haearn » 26 May 2020, 5:29pm

Or get a train of course

Prudency indicates, best not to go travelling this year for fear of quarantine, just the uncertainty. Many of us live in places that are interesting enough
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Re: Post-Covid-19: Could some ferry operators ban cyclists?

Postby mjr » 26 May 2020, 6:48pm

ANTONISH wrote:Cyclist prices do indeed seem to be flat - no special offers in recent years - there doesn't seem to be much profit in it for the ferry companies.

Not true, in that both DFDS and Stena had special offers open to cyclists earlier this year. When I wrote that it's flat pricing, I meant that the prices do not vary with demand: tickets go on sale at a price (£25 saver fare from Dover to France, for example) and stay there until either a deadline passes or they sell out (very rarely), whereas with a car, the price will steadily increase.

ANTONISH wrote:As has been said if it was lucrative to carry cyclists the ferry companies would encourage them.

If a company can't make it more lucrative to carry 10 vehicles instead of 1 while charging each of the 10 about a quarter the typical fare of the 1, then something is a bit wrong with their business, isn't it?

I wondered if ferry operators are required to carry primarily freight and secondly motorists, while cyclists and walkers are an afterthought that they use to fill spare capacity, which would explain why bike parking is often in those odd-shaped no-turning-circle spaces that no car or lorry could fit in and still get out again, but I didn't find any relevant licensing info online, such as on the Marine and Coastguard Agency's website. Does anyone know how they're regulated?
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