PH wrote: mikeymo wrote:
Sweep wrote:Well as far as I am concerned free bike carriage on trains IS a pre-requisite for any realistic form of integration.
Yes, and the other passengers won't mind subsidising your chosen method of transport at all. Will they?
Why on earth would we need to do that? The railways are already subsidised, the piper can already call the tune, what's lacking is the will. If it needs an additional subsidy we could take a bit of the huge subsidies car users get.
Bike/train/bike is definitely an option for me on two of my regular commutes. In fact, if it were possible or reliable it could well mean I would sell the car, uses taxis if necessary and maybe hire a car for times I need one. I'd be at least £1000 a year better off in fixed costs alone. About the same amount of subsidy that Transport 2000 reckoned every car gets:https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/government-challenged-over-motoring-myths-real-cost-of-roads-far-higher-than-ministers-say-transport-1416229.html
Though you'll have to make allowances for the dodgy use of statistics there.
Maybe there are a lot of other people like me, yes?
So let's try this thought experiment.
The train companies adapt all their trains, and network rail make adjustments to the stations and platforms, so that I can ride down to my local station, wheel the bike onto the train, stow it without having to lift it, sit next to it, then wheel off at the other end. They make sure there is always enough space for that to happen, maybe I can have a reserved space. That's going to take up more space on the train. One person sitting down plus a bike, is more floor space than one person sitting down.
This sounds great, so lots of other people start doing it, let's imagine. Half of all commuters in fact. But the bike carriages are bigger than the pedestrian only carriages, for the same number of passengers. So our imaginary train carrying, let's say, 150 pedestrians and 150 cyclists (and their bikes) is actually two thirds bike carriages and one third pedestrian carriages. Now then, I'm going to guess (and I genuinely welcome input from anybody with inside knowledge of the finances of running a train company) that the vast majority of the costs of running a train are fixed costs. Or to put it another way, the marginal cost per passenger is very small, and is essentially the same for a passenger with or without a pedal cycle. So in my 150/150 and one third/two thirds scenario, the amount of fixed cost attributed to each passenger-with-a-bike will be exactly twice that attributed to each bikeless passenger. Does that strike you as equitable? After all, don't first class passengers on aeroplanes pay more because they take up more space (correct me if I'm wrong, I've only been on an aeroplane twice)?
Let's continue this thought experiment. While standing on the platform waiting for the 8:32 to Somewheresville to arrive, a cyclist and pedestrian passenger strike up a conversation:
Cyclist: "oh, it's great with all these new bike only carriages, I can cycle down from home, wheel the bike onto the train, wheel it off at the other end and it's a short ride to work. And the train company doesn't charge me any more for it. In fact I've sold my car, I'm saving a fortune".
Pedestrian: "I often can't get a seat, because they can't fit any more carriages on the train". Thump.
But that's ridiculous, you think, there aren't ever going to be that many people making journeys like. Why not? You think will is lacking, I think imagination is lacking. I think it's very possible to imagine a situation where many people do exactly that journey, like that. But because it's not seen, even by some cyclists it seems, as a viable option, FOR ORDINARY PEOPLE, IN THE WAY I DESCRIBED IT
, nobody bothers doing it. So it stays as it is, and the train companies make a gesture and fit a couple of cycles in, somewhere. Like the hanging broom cupboard.
That's why I'm perfectly willing to pay for it. Though of course, in the words of Lord Curzon, now we've established the principle, let's get down to the bargaining.