london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

dave holladay
Posts: 284
Joined: 4 Apr 2007, 12:25pm

Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby dave holladay » 11 Nov 2012, 12:43pm

Sorry rootes but tha's living in cloud cuckoo land. Providing that space as a separate van would require an extra full carriage for every 4 4 coach units produced - or around £1.5m for each extra coach that would need to be built with say £15-£20m added to every new trains order. Now you have this space (which has to earn money to pay for it) ... and you want to have it used for free carriage of cycles? Guards vans went because the parcels business would not pay the passnger business for the space being dragged around empty when they did not want to use it - it was for a while 'cheaper' to run separate parcels trains for the parcels business but that of course took away capacity to run other passnger trains....

What we do have is a ridiculously inefficient use of the trains and track for just a couple of hours per day, because institutions and industry demand that we all work a day between 9 and 5, and as a result we get trains filled to 200% of their seated capacity and tracks fully used for this very short period and only to sit idle for the rest of the time, or rattle around with barely 20% of seats filled.

We know this 20% because people using those trains with bikes have counted passengers and bikes aboard, and noted the train type (or seat count on the panel outside). What IS needed is for the train specifiers (at present DfT - who in many peoples' opinion get it wrong) to brek the thinking of cramming in the maximum seat count, and deliver trains whcih can flexibly accommodate bikes and other things outside the times when the full capacity of the train is needed for carrying people

User avatar
rootes
Posts: 605
Joined: 27 Jul 2008, 6:44pm
Location: Woking, Surrey

Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby rootes » 11 Nov 2012, 1:36pm

What we do have is a ridiculously inefficient use of the trains and track for just a couple of hours per day, because institutions and industry demand that we all work a day between 9 and 5, and as a result we get trains filled to 200% of their seated capacity and tracks fully used for this very short period and only to sit idle for the rest of the time, or rattle around with barely 20% of seats filled.


Dave, I know just dreaming - I did not mean a complete seperate van but a section with less/no seats - SWT has already done this on some of its older stock but just on a small scale. Perhaps space to place bromptons - remember SWT are activily encouraging cyclists - you can get a brompton for £2 a week from them for example.

trust me I know how busy the trains are as a daily Woking to London commuter!


Now you have this space (which has to earn money to pay for it) ... and you want to have it used for free carriage of cycles?


Would not be entirly free as the cyclist using the train has to pay - currently for me just under £3k a year.

We know this 20% because people using those trains with bikes have counted passengers and bikes aboard, and noted the train type (or seat count on the panel outside). What IS needed is for the train specifiers (at present DfT - who in many peoples' opinion get it wrong) to brek the thinking of cramming in the maximum seat count, and deliver trains whcih can flexibly accommodate bikes and other things outside the times when the full capacity of the train is needed for carrying people


What about accomoating bikes at peak times though? are you saying it is just tough and at peak times we should just walk, drive to a station, walk get the tube at the other end?

as a note cycles though rarely travel on their own! :lol: they normally have a rider with them, who pays, who also needs to be conveyed.

I find getting a bike of a train outside peak easy and don't have an issue with it.

dave holladay
Posts: 284
Joined: 4 Apr 2007, 12:25pm

Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby dave holladay » 11 Nov 2012, 11:01pm

The space which would be used by bikes at peak times is actually needed to fit in more passengers, so that the gain of your £3k season ticket fare, filling space elsewhere, is overwhelmingly trumped by the fares for the passengers filling the space. In this respect the Dutch have sorted the problem in the right way - you don't actually use the bike on the train, and only need it at one or both ends of the journey. Sort that out at an acceptable price and you've dealt with the commuting issue.

For a regular commuter, that means the same journey for around 250 days per year, and for a London commuter a bike in London in many cases replaces the London Zones 1 & 2 supplement to catch a Tube or bus, or a long walk/taxi ride. The typical cost for the alternative to cycling is thus around £4.50 per day for an onward trip that has a major time penalty of walking to & from the tube/bus stops and waiting for the services to arrive. You might instead get a Barclays bike key but unlike a personal bike with immediate access and a direct train to office journey you may find a queue to hire and return bikes at Waterloo and a hassle finding a parking spot in the City, although the daily cost is a lot cheaper than a Zonecard (£0.36p/day for 250 days/year)

We thus have a market and demand pattern to work on and a pricing regime to develop, which can relate to savings made (car parking, Zone card, running a second car to get to the station) and for some commuters that can crank-up to £6000-£8000/year. So that a reliable alternative at a lower cost is a real bargain, especially if a balance on the cost and the product that can be delivered can be established - a secure bike parking facility, which delivers the subscriber directly to the train on the platform (with a dedicated ticket barrier) would be a premium service - costing say 50p/day, and including an indemnity cover for theft or damage to bikes stored. Paid for bike storage might include some basic facilities to pump up tyres etc. At both ends of the trip that would be £1 per day, a major saving on the Zones card alone.

TonyR
Posts: 5390
Joined: 31 Aug 2008, 12:51pm

Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby TonyR » 12 Nov 2012, 6:41am

In the old days there used to be a gap between back to back seats on trains which fitted a Brompton perfectly - unused space that was out of the way and did not impact on passengers. Its still there on some old rolling stock. But on new stock the seat layout has got rid of it or filled it with rubbish bins and/or its too small to fit a Brompton in anymore. When SWT replaced their rolling stock that is the thing that went although to their credit they have put in a bike storage area on their trains if you can find the right coach.

User avatar
CJ
Posts: 3118
Joined: 15 Jan 2007, 9:55pm

Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby CJ » 12 Nov 2012, 11:57am

rootes wrote:What about accomoating bikes at peak times though?

That's possible only where cycling is a vestigial means of transport, where so few people want to use bikes for commuting that the maximum number of them on any peak train is unlikely to exceed a couple. That's why you can still do that in some parts of UK, but not at all in Holland. Not being able to take a bike on a peak hour train is the price of making cycling popular. But we do need cycling to be popular - for the safety in numbers effect.

Are you saying it is just tough and at peak times we should just walk, drive to a station, walk get the tube at the other end?

What I'm saying is that you should either get a compact folding bike or two cheap bikes with big locks to keep at either end.

I find getting a bike of a train outside peak easy and don't have an issue with it.

Good for you, but a lot of us do have trouble with the limited number of bike spaces on less busy trains - and with trains where those spaces cannot be booked. For whilst folders and station bikes take care of commuting, there's no workable alternative when it comes to longer journeys to variable destinations and where the whole point of the journey is the cycling at the far end. For that, flexible space and the facility to book a bike on a train is needed.

When new rolling stock with a lower quota of bike spaces - that could not be reserved - meant that as a family we could no longer rely upon making travel connections for cycling holidays or even day rides out of our home area, that was the tipping point for buying a car. (My first car, at the age of 50!) That car now has to earn it's keep, so we use the train much less, shop by car instead of bike trailer and even drive to work half the time - in spite of living ONE minutes' walk from the station!
Chris Juden
One lady owner, never raced or jumped.

User avatar
[XAP]Bob
Posts: 18065
Joined: 26 Sep 2008, 4:12pm

Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby [XAP]Bob » 12 Nov 2012, 1:56pm

Why not design carriages with storage?
A half sized guards van would be fine on most services at the moment: i.e. the rear carriage having 50% seating, and maybe a bench seat along one side of the remainder.

Of course it would be nice to have the guards back as well.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

dave holladay
Posts: 284
Joined: 4 Apr 2007, 12:25pm

Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby dave holladay » 12 Nov 2012, 4:00pm

Chris

The position on paying for the space when use of it will have a direct impact of reducing capacity for passengers is one that CTC and others have to face up to. DB, NS, Eurostar & others charge for cycle carriage when it does this, and against the costs of running that van/car it will presumably still work out cheaper. I anticipate that this will be (as in Germany) applied to IR and longer distance trains, but local services (like Berlin S-Bahn and U-Bahn = LOROL, LUL, Southern Metro etc) will carry bikes free and often restrict access when trains are filled with passengers.

It is only 35 years since the UK ralways began carrying cycles free, a deal that the comercial manager of the time decribed as a something which delivered a substantial boost to revenues, but remember that there was for a period a £3 'reservation fee' for reservable services, came back in 1987 and then went again around 1997 amid a variety of charges/free carriage arrangements that had developed without any consistency.

I think that for long distance limited frequency services we may end up falling in line with the practice across most of the rest of Europe - if you want to transport the assembled cycle as an outsize item on a long distance service there will be a charge for the space, unless the operator wants to attract passengers to use a service. If you pack the bike as luggage - it goes as luggage - free if it meets the limits ses.

On local trains bikes go free, outside peak hours, with a possible option of dispensing with peak hour bike bans, and have access available but for a fee .

The debate needs to be had, as clearly there is a structured model of deamnd for cycle-rail integration for different types of user /journey, and a need to have a tariff to cover the range of options and make them sustainable, through generating revenue or proving revenue generated by the cyclists using trains. Secured parking costs money to run and manage as does hire.

dave holladay
Posts: 284
Joined: 4 Apr 2007, 12:25pm

Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby dave holladay » 12 Nov 2012, 4:07pm

(XAP) Bob

Sorry but in the world where resources have to be paid for you have no case for providing a 'guards van' unless things go in that space and pay for the use of it directly, or through the sale of a passenger fare, and at say £300,000 per train/unit you might consider how that sum will be amortised.

Also for the London commuter trains, at peak times filled to 200% of seated capacity on some routes, every coach has to be able to take passengers, and as many as possible, every coach has to count. Off peak we do press for the flexibility to fit bikes in seated areas whaich are no longer rammed full, and generally that works far better than the 2 bikes per unit that is officially quoted. Frequently for 2 bikes read 8, or more.

bromptonrail
Posts: 53
Joined: 30 Mar 2008, 2:04pm
Location: God's own county

Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby bromptonrail » 12 Nov 2012, 4:12pm

Why no dedicated bike space, or room on peak trains?
Because all space on trains has to pay for itself - and given that peak trains into London (many 12 coaches) and provincial cities (mostly 4 coach max because station platforms cannot accommodate more) are packed solid there never will be spare space for bikes. More frequent trains and longer trains might seem like the answer, but most urban lines are at capacity and there is rarely enough spare land at stations to extend platforms any more. Remember if you want to run 4 coach provincial trains instead of 2 coaches, every station on the line needs to be able to accommodate 4 coaches. The cost would be very high.

There is a perverse disincentive for TOCs to run longer trains anyway, if your train is 150% full and you double the number of coaches, you only get the same fare income but with double the train hire cost.

Outside of London it is not uncommon for daytime trains, and particularly Saturday (& Sunday) trains to be nearly as full as peak trains, plus the bike space is in demand for pushchairs too!

Therefore, in my humble opinion, the outlook for taking bikes on trains in the future is not too encouraging.
No advertising please.

dave holladay
Posts: 284
Joined: 4 Apr 2007, 12:25pm

Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby dave holladay » 17 Nov 2012, 10:28am

Martin

More significant is that you are charged per vehicle for running the trains - calculated by the number of carriages stopping at a station, and the type of train. Thus the story - possibly with some foundation in fact that Scotrail pays more for the 64 loco-hauled coaches that call each night at Preston, than Northern Rail pays for their lightweight units calling during the day.

Still, with many staff briefed to work with cyclists, the delivery of cycle carriage well in excess of the 2 bikes per train capacity commonly stated is exemplary 8 vice 2 is common, even on the single 70 seat Class 153 trains. 37 is a personally noted total on a 3-coach electric unit going to the opening event on the Loch Lomond Cycleway in 1988 (at 08.10 on a weekday - peak hour service!).

Time has had to be called however on a train limited by platform length, and the lack of a through corridor (which SWT practice uses as a means to stop longer trains at shorter platforms, saving a fortune in platform extension works) a 4-coach train with 242 seats arrives in Cambridge full and standing but was also carrying at least 23 bikes, 70% of that number being non-folding ones.

User avatar
rootes
Posts: 605
Joined: 27 Jul 2008, 6:44pm
Location: Woking, Surrey

Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby rootes » 21 Nov 2012, 3:07pm

What I'm saying is that you should either get a compact folding bike or two cheap bikes with big locks to keep at either end.


CJ, I have. Had a Brompton for over 5 years now.

In fact the one silver lining of using packed trains (Woking to London is one of the worst in UK) is that i had to buy a foldng bike, the Brompton has been a relevation and I used it for generally cycling as well as in connection with trains..

Si

mr_cellophane
Posts: 21
Joined: 1 Apr 2008, 6:06pm

Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby mr_cellophane » 22 Nov 2012, 10:10pm

I thought all rail companies had the same rules. C2C's state
Folding cycles should be transported in a protective carrying case.

and
Cycles must be carried in the designated area on the train and must not obstruct doors and aisles.
Please do not lock your cycle to any part of the train. You are also reminded not to leave your cycle unattended at any time during your journey.

Never seen the first one enforced. Not sure how the other two could be.

Something should be done about the passengers who drag cases behind them like a disobedient dog. They should be made to carry them !