New bike restriction on Eurostar

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
andymiller
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby andymiller » 19 Jan 2013, 9:24pm

ChrisButch wrote:
Barrenfluffit wrote:... if you wanted to take your bike on the summer service to Avignon

.....which this year is being extended as far as Aix-en-Provence, just to rub it in....


No point grumbling at me - you're preaching to the converted: so far as I'm concerned the very least they could do is offer a registered baggage service to all the destinations they serve. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) I'm not in charge of eurostar.

Send them an email. I suspect that Eurostar only pretend to listen to their customers, but nothing will change if people just keep quiet, or just grumble on forums like these.

Oh and if you're a member of the CTC you could also ask them to take up the issue.

PS Here are the names of the eurostar management team.
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Barrenfluffit
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby Barrenfluffit » 19 Jan 2013, 9:33pm

EBE takes on passengers at 5pm in Toulouse and gets back to the uk about 9ish. Compared to the train alternative timewise its probably quicker and definitely easier because you don't have to keep changing trains. They drive through the night whereas the trains often seem to have a 3-4 hour gap in the morning.

Best thing to do would be to persuade the baggage company to open an office in Avignon. The trains are the same I understand so the problem isn't carriage.

birkhead
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby birkhead » 22 Jan 2013, 10:56pm

I found about this when I was about to order materials for Mark's Mark2 Housse, an investment presently suspended.
I complained to Eurostar.
I would urge others aggrieved to complain likewise
Also informed Dave Holladay of CTC.
If there is sufficient volume of protest, maybe they will ease off.
I do not consider my bike[s] have caused any problem, it/they occupy a top shelf and comprise much less baggage than most of the other punters
Here is the full text of the email exchange:


Email on behalf of Eurostar from Via Email (Lucy, Eurostar Support) 22/01/2013 05.58 PM
Dear Mr

Thank you for your in-depth response. Your comments have been passed on to the relevant department dealing with comments and feedback about baggage allowances, particularly bicycles. They have advised me that your email is perfect for the type of examples they need regarding our passengers when travelling with bicycles.

Again, thank you for your comments, they are greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards
Lucy, Eurostar Support
Your question By Email 22/01/2013 05.04 PM
Dear Eurostar
thank you for your reply.

Like many other cyclists, I welcome the opportunity to travel sustainably on trains, both in Britain and in Europe.
I am able to take my cycle free on trains within Britain, either packed or as a complete cycle.

I have equipped myself with a cycle carrying bag, at some expense, in order to conform to the previous Eurostar regulation and the normal requirements on European trains.
Moreover I have marketed this opportunity to other cyclists via
the CTC Forum, which has no doubt brought you a considerable amount of business over past years.
I value this method of travel not only because of the sustainability of the travel, but also because it enables me to monitor the safety of the relatively fragile cycle.
I do not wish to entrust it to baggage handlers, who may not care for it as well as I do.

I am aware that it is possible to pay for the cycle to be carried on Eurostar, but this is very expensive, and I note that it has increased in 2013
from £25 to £30, or a 20% increase.
It is not possible to reduce a normal cycle to less than 85cm long - only folding cycles fit this requirement.
I disagree entirely that cycles in 120cm bags cause inconvenience and discomfort:
in my experience, because cycles are light relative to the large suitcases others use, they can be placed on the upper rack, where they are out of the way and present no problem for other passengers.

In my experience your trains are full of passengers taking many
enormous suitcases, which they have great difficulty in manoeuvring and storing on your trains.
There are also passengers with push-chairs for young children.
These passengers are not surcharged for their suitcases
- I am therefore disappointed that Eurostar chooses to penalise cyclists.

I hope that you can find a solution that is beneficial to cyclists in consultation with the cycling community and particularly the CTC.


On 22/01/2013 13:27, Eurostar Support wrote:

Email on behalf of Eurostar from Via Email (Lucy, Eurostar Support) 22/01/2013 02.27 PM
Dear Mr

Thank you for your e mail.

Sorry for the delayed reply.

Our revised baggage policy is now a maximum of 85cm in its longest length for suitcases and bike bags. On this link is more information on sizes; http://www.eurostar.com/pdf/baggage/bik ... rostar.pdf.

Following the recent, more general luggage policy change, we are very aware of cyclists, their requirements and how our policy might affect them. We are currently reviewing things from a cyclist's perspective and whilst this may not mean any changes to the policy, we are keen to find some kind of solution. If you have any specific feedback, please let me know and I will forward it onto the relevant department.

Kind Regards
Lucy, Eurostar Support
Your question By Web Form 14/01/2013 01.15 PM
Hitherto Eurostar has advertised a max length of luggage item as 120cm. This has permitted carrying bikes in bags available for this purpose, as on French and other European trains.
However the advice now shows a maximum size of 85cm.
Is this correct?
Has this change been introduced after consultation with user organisations, in this case cycle organisations like CTC?
[Edited to remove my id 25jan13]
Last edited by birkhead on 25 Jan 2013, 5:03pm, edited 1 time in total.

dave holladay
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby dave holladay » 25 Jan 2013, 2:39pm

I am aware if this and have actually got to repair a few broken bridges as I did let slip the name of the person I was dealing with on other bike issues, as a person to chase about this issue, and had my fingers rapped. No detail has emerged about how bikes will be conveyed on new Velaro E-320 trains which Eurostar is buying (first will arrive this year) for London-Germany service. (DB version does have bike spaces). So there is a clear need to continue several conversations.

The hidden unchanged page has resulted in highly inconsistent approach in dealing with bagged bikes at check-ins - especially Paris (ranked in helpfulness - Brussels = 1 London = 2 Paris = 5).

Both Peter Mynors and myself have done a bit of checking out and there is an informal indication that this issue will be resolved (reverted for bagged bikes) in a few weeks time, and thus Eurostar will again align with almost all the other long distance rail operators with a 120 x 90 dimension for a bike in a bag (eg RENFE, TGV (SNCF & SNCB), Thalys etc) - do post the details of those you know of. I hope to move this to a wider spectrum and get 120 x 90 accepted on Megabus, National Express coaches and other transport options, as well as all UK domestic rail services.

Oddly the 'new' Eurostar suitcase size limit is SMALLER that the ATOC National Rail limit of 90 x 70 cm, you would have thought they might have looked outside the silo at whet their connecting services are doing?

Mark. you might also note the X7 Aberdeen-Dundee coach service is positively inviting people to travel with a bike, and this adds to many other routes that carry bikes with Stagecoach Fife, Bluebird, Western, Tayside, and Oxford Tube.

That said do not stop campaigning for some bike spaces, even though as Eurodespatch counter staff note to those complaining abut the £30 charge "And how much would you be paying to fly with the bike?" it is a way that some bikes may need to travel. At that price they have seen numbers rising by over 1000% since the 2008 changes which I worked on with CTC, and one cycle tour operator (anyone now who that is?) is shifting 30-40 bikes at a time this way, spread across the available spaces on a route.

niall
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby niall » 15 Feb 2013, 3:51pm

Both Peter Mynors and myself have done a bit of checking out and there is an informal indication that this issue will be resolved (reverted for bagged bikes) in a few weeks time, and thus Eurostar will again align with almost all the other long distance rail operators with a 120 x 90 dimension for a bike in a bag (eg RENFE, TGV (SNCF & SNCB), Thalys etc) - do post the details of those you know of.


Has there been any update on this?
Just booked a long weekend in Belgium, and £50 extra to take my bike seems horribly expensive.

Gillsman123
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby Gillsman123 » 15 Feb 2013, 7:27pm

I emailed Eurostar about their change in policy. I received the response today which I've posted below:

Thank you for your e-mail. Firstly, I apologise that we could not reply sooner; we have developed a backlog, which has hindered our ability to respond as quickly as we would like.

I am sorry to hear that you are disappointed to the recent changes to our luggage policy, specifically when it comes to bikes. The idea behind the change was to try and better manage the situation on board as on occasion there is too much luggage and merely storing it differently did not alleviate the situation. Aside from the safety implications of having luggage block exits (the Train Manager checks that this is not the case during the journey), a change was needed. In addition, the previous policy wasn’t very clear and wasn’t always enforced consistently, so I am sure you can agree that these aspects needed to be improved.

In terms of how this relates to bikes I can see that you are passionate about travelling with yours and I’m glad to see that you are also keen to travel with us. Naturally I can understand your disappointment at the cost of bringing a bike with you and understand and personally agree with your strive to travel in a more environmentally friendly way. As such I have forwarded a copy of your e-mail to a colleague who is part of the team in charge of these changes, as we constantly take passenger feedback and comments into consideration when changes like this have been made.

This will ensure that they are aware of your views and can consider them in any reviews of the changes, or indeed, in the case that there will be further changes to the policy or any consideration in a change of fee. Turning to your point about the difference between a bike and a suitcase, I can personally see little difference (apart from the bike being likely far lighter), but would point out that the maximum lengths are now consistent across all types of luggage, which was one of the main aims of the changes.

I hope that this helps to explain things, although realise that the change is not ideal in your specific circumstances and hope that we can welcome you back on board Eurostar again soon.

Best regards,

Eurostar Traveller Care
'
Last edited by admin on 10 Dec 2013, 9:19am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edited to remove personal name

dave holladay
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby dave holladay » 15 Feb 2013, 7:38pm

I was advised by a rail industry person who is also a keen road cyclist, that he was expecting a change of position on this issue (as he and a party coming back from Spain will be rather upset to get all the way back to Paris and than not have their bagged bikes accepted) time to start pressing the issue further again I suspect.

Those who want to raise the stakes might try their Regional MEP's and highlight the inconsistency between Eurostar and all other carriers, and how the Eurostar regime runs counter to delivery of sustainable tourism (by cycle) across Europe, counter to declared EC policy.

Longer term the lifting of the initial restriction on other operators using Eurotunnel and HS1 was initially going to be Die Bahn, but may even be another company, and I'm hoping to get somehwre with Megabus for assured cycle carriage (they take bagged bikes but won't guarantee the space on your service.

mr riff raff
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby mr riff raff » 19 Feb 2013, 7:16pm

niall wrote:
Both Peter Mynors and myself have done a bit of checking out and there is an informal indication that this issue will be resolved (reverted for bagged bikes) in a few weeks time, and thus Eurostar will again align with almost all the other long distance rail operators with a 120 x 90 dimension for a bike in a bag (eg RENFE, TGV (SNCF & SNCB), Thalys etc) - do post the details of those you know of.


Has there been any update on this?
Just booked a long weekend in Belgium, and £50 extra to take my bike seems horribly expensive.

Surely it'd be cheaper and easier to go Dover to Calais/Dunkirk by boat and ride?
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bigjim
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby bigjim » 20 Feb 2013, 3:37pm

All seems a lot of hassle to me that you don't need at the start of a holiday.
Especially when I recently took my bike from Manchester to CDG Paris for £47 total on Jet2 in an hour.

jonsear
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby jonsear » 25 Feb 2013, 7:25pm

To confuse things further, the big poster at check-in at St Pancras yesterday (24th Feb) said that folded bikes were OK so long as in a bag <120cm, whilst a notice at Gare du Nord said all luggage should be <85cm!

The Mechanic
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby The Mechanic » 26 Feb 2013, 10:15am

I know one of the people on the Eurostar management team linked to above. I will send them an email.
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CJ
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby CJ » 26 Feb 2013, 1:06pm

jonsear wrote:To confuse things further, the big poster at check-in at St Pancras yesterday (24th Feb) said that folded bikes were OK so long as in a bag <120cm, whilst a notice at Gare du Nord said all luggage should be <85cm!

I'm not surprised to find most zealous enforcement of this new rule at Gare du Nord, where according to this earlier thread there's a guy called Gary who has a right downer on cycletourists!

Could one man be driving this whole anti-cycling process? Stranger things have happened :wink:

First Gare (du Nord) Gary picked on those who'd simply wrapped their bikes in plastic rather than using fabric bags - that are too heavy and awkward to cycle with. Now he's got those banned too. How long before he succeeds in ejecting bagged folders from the check-in queue - which admittedly is a significantly cramped and squalid process at Gare du Nord, compared to St Pancras' purpose-built facility?
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jackh
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby jackh » 16 Mar 2013, 9:37am

Very frustrating all of this.

Now that you must take bicycles using the registered luggage service, there is NO provision for taking normal sized bikes on any services at intermediate stops between London and Brussels or Paris.

My girlfriend and I have a trip planned to Tours this summer to visit friends and see the Tour de France and we've been told that there is no possibility of taking a bike on the train from Ashford where we live (unless it is <85cm when packed). So, if we want to get the bikes to Paris we must travel all the way to St. Pancras, have the bikes put on the train using the luggage service, then go to Paris. The plan is then to ride to Tours, but we want to take the TGV back to Paris to rejoin the Eurostar on our return trip. But TGV says they require the bikes to be bagged up!

Absolutely ridiculous, really pissed off with Eurostar. I think we will be taking the ferry instead.

jackh
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby jackh » 16 Mar 2013, 9:41am

Also, we want to take a train that leaves at 6.30 in the morning from Ashford, so its hardly going to be packed is it? Perhaps a bit of flexibility on Eurostars part, ie. restricting bikes on services which are known to be particularly busy would be the fair and reasonable way of doing this.

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robgul
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Re: New bike restriction on Eurostar

Postby robgul » 16 Mar 2013, 3:53pm

jackh wrote:Also, we want to take a train that leaves at 6.30 in the morning from Ashford, so its hardly going to be packed is it? Perhaps a bit of flexibility on Eurostars part, ie. restricting bikes on services which are known to be particularly busy would be the fair and reasonable way of doing this.


Be fair - you can understand the logic of only loading/unloading bikes at the terminus stations - the stops at the intermediate stations are as brief as they can make them, messing with bikes would not be good. ... BUT ......

Why not go to Folkestone and take the Eurotunnel Bike Service (goes about 0830 IIRC) to Calais and get on the TGV from either Calais Ville or Frethun stations (if you ask Norman the Bike Service driver nicely he'll drop you off) to Tours via Paris.

Lots of the TGVs will now take bikes unbagged (just wheel them on ... with a booking) - best is to speak to SNCF (NOT Rail Europe) to get help and make bookings.

Shame you're not going in June - we have spaces on a coach/bike trailer going from Calais to Tours (and places in between) on Monday 10 June ... cost about £35 per person.

Rob
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