Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
Jughead
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Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby Jughead » 5 Mar 2014, 5:53pm

On my commute home, 6 bikes looking to board with 3 spaces only. Thankfully we all got on because there was no jobsworth ticket checker. Two got off at the first stop with another two bikes looking to board. Then the conductor appeared. Thankfully I was one of the ones getting off. My money is on 3 cyclists being ejected and having to wait another hour for a connection. You know it's just going to get worse.

Makes you wonder what is being done to encourage cyclists. I bet the two cyclists who were commuting for the first time wont be back.

No point in complaining as I actually think the rail companies gather complaints as proof of underfunding. No point in speaking to an MP as they will come out with the usual [inappropriate word removed] that funding has never been greater and so much % of millions have been allocated. Blah, bloody , blah.

eileithyia
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby eileithyia » 5 Mar 2014, 8:12pm

Best I have seen, trains in Yorks will have a bike ban on their trains the weekend of the Le Tour.. no lets put extra carrying capacity on and take advantage of all the people wanting to travel to the area....
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

Postboxer
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby Postboxer » 6 Mar 2014, 1:48am

What we need is a cheap carriage, at the back of the train, full of lockers of varying sizes for bikes and luggage.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby [XAP]Bob » 6 Mar 2014, 7:46am

Itcould even have a person whose job it was to store things effectively and make sure the right person got each piece of luggage at the right station...
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.

AndyBSG
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby AndyBSG » 6 Mar 2014, 8:37am

I went to Bournemouth at the weekend from London Waterloo, not sure what train service that is, and have to say I was actually pretty impressed with their facilities.

Every carriage had actual racks for three bicycles... Definitely the exception to the rule rather than the norm though.

Mark1978
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby Mark1978 » 6 Mar 2014, 8:40am

I've often thought about cycling out to somewhere and then getting the train home (I live next to a station should should be convenient!). But I've never done it for fear of not being able to get on the train.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby [XAP]Bob » 6 Mar 2014, 9:10am

The get the train out and cycle home...
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.

nez
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby nez » 6 Mar 2014, 9:34am

Postboxer wrote:What we need is a cheap carriage, at the back of the train, full of lockers of varying sizes for bikes and luggage.
yes. That's what all trains used to have.

Bicycler
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby Bicycler » 6 Mar 2014, 11:28am

nez dans le guidon wrote:
Postboxer wrote:What we need is a cheap carriage, at the back of the train, full of lockers of varying sizes for bikes and luggage.
yes. That's what all trains used to have.

Not really feasible for branch line trains these days (some are only a single carriage to begin with). Realistically all we need is a decent amount of space allocated to bikes somewhere on the train.

Mark. I second the advice about getting the train away from home and cycling back. I used to do this. Is Northern your local operator? They don't do reservations but that can be a good thing as the conductors use their discretion. I've been on trains with more than 2 bikes on there. In fact I've only rarely not been able to catch a train and then only because I've decided not to chance a busy looking train. Then again, I don't tend to be going to cities or on busy routes. By the way, the racks themselves are mainly ancient and useless.

Psamathe
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby Psamathe » 6 Mar 2014, 11:42am

Whilst I have no experience of bikes on train, I suspect that many of the reported problems stem from a privately owned rail system. Rightly or wrongly, under our capitalist system the privately owned rail companies have to act solely in the interests of their shareholders. Considerations as to providing a good service, meeting needs are only relevant in terms of profit. So, whilst from a benefits to customers/society it makes complete sense for decent provision for bikes, the way our governments have organised our rail system means that it has to be profit driven.

That does not mean they will never provide any provision for bikes, but rather that it is a balance set to maximise profit. So during rush hour, fill up with people why buy mega expensive tickets. And off peak they there is the need to attract customers (rather than the rush hour maximum ticket prices). But you don't want the cost of re-configuring trains all over the place, so it becomes a complete mess that has to serve only the shareholders.

Personally I think it wrong. It could be corrected by e.g. the regulator requiring adequate capacity for cycles or many other mechanisms.

Ian

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honesty
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby honesty » 6 Mar 2014, 11:46am

On larger trains modern technology makes this releatively simple. To start with you need to either open up the engineering space in the power car or add on a carriage. Then all you need is a RFID card like an oyster card to give you access to this space (you could even charge a nominal amount to have it) which would track who went in and where. You could even make it so that the carriage will only open at your boarding and disembarking location with specific cards so you have to pre-register where you want to get on and off. Again modern technology means you could do this registration though computer, smart phone app etc. etc.. You could use the same system to open locks or lockers to make bikes more secure.

This also would have the added advantage of telling the guards/drivers when you have removed your bike so they dont set off without you getting your stuff.

As the share of journeys increase the train companies will have to do something. Unfortunately I think that something will be to ban all bikes bar folders though.

Chris the Sheep
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby Chris the Sheep » 6 Mar 2014, 12:23pm

Psamathe wrote:Whilst I have no experience of bikes on train, I suspect that many of the reported problems stem from a privately owned rail system. Rightly or wrongly, under our capitalist system the privately owned rail companies have to act solely in the interests of their shareholders. Considerations as to providing a good service, meeting needs are only relevant in terms of profit. So, whilst from a benefits to customers/society it makes complete sense for decent provision for bikes, the way our governments have organised our rail system means that it has to be profit driven.

That does not mean they will never provide any provision for bikes, but rather that it is a balance set to maximise profit. So during rush hour, fill up with people why buy mega expensive tickets. And off peak they there is the need to attract customers (rather than the rush hour maximum ticket prices). But you don't want the cost of re-configuring trains all over the place, so it becomes a complete mess that has to serve only the shareholders.

Personally I think it wrong. It could be corrected by e.g. the regulator requiring adequate capacity for cycles or many other mechanisms.

Ian


I agree with most of what you say - but the rot set in long before privatisation. Most of the generation of trains with guards' vans were replaced in the eighties by BR, with the notable exception of much of the Southern region where slam-door stock lasted well into privatisation. "Guard's vans" were principally there to carry parcels, and that traffic had pretty much disappeared; bikes were allowed in the guard's van and there was usually plenty of room, but if it had been full of parcels then we'd have been out of luck.

If the will were there then it would be easy enough to design a train that could accommodate off-peak cycling; a standee carriage with flip down seats around the sides would be a start. An issue there of course would be getting enough of those trains out there so that cyclists could plan on that basis.
Peak-time cycling is another thing altogether; we're talking dedicated carriages/compartments, which would take up space at other times. There's also things like dwell times at stations to consider - how long it takes for the cyclist to a) load their bike and b) get to the passenger accommodation. Nothing insurmountable, and I'm sure most people would pay to use that accommodation.

Bicycler
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby Bicycler » 6 Mar 2014, 12:25pm

Psamathe wrote:Personally I think it wrong. It could be corrected by e.g. the regulator requiring adequate capacity for cycles or many other mechanisms.

And this is the valid point. The evil profit seeking capitalists provide the service they are contracted to provide. It is successive governments that are to blame for the required standard not being higher, after all they set the terms.

iviehoff
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby iviehoff » 6 Mar 2014, 1:22pm

You can't take bikes on most trains in Sweden; the main train operator who prevents this is SJ who are state-owned; and Sweden is generally thought of as as a rather green place in most regards.

So it is far from obvious that the absence of state-ownership of the railway system is the reason. Even if the state owned the railway operators, it would still have to want to facilitate it. Even if the state didn't own the railway system, it could still require it's contracted operators to provide bicycle service. Those baggage cars that cyclists used to be able to use in Britain were a legacy of a day when railways could run a local parcels business profitably and allocate carriage space to that, but those days have gone, and that is why modern trains are made without those baggage cars.

So getting bikes on trains, when it isn't in the commercial interest of the operator, as it often isn't, is mainly about whether society wishes to facilitate it and pay the cost for it. Society has, for example, insisted that train companies facilitate space for wheelchair users on trains, and wheelchair accessible toilet facilities, even though wheelchair users on trains are much less numerous than cyclists in my experience. It goes back to what society is willing to dedicate its tax funds to.

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honesty
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Re: Rail Companies Letting Down Cyclists

Postby honesty » 6 Mar 2014, 2:11pm

Its not just what we want, but what we let them get away with. HS2 is a perfect example... Just think how much extra capacity could be provided with £80 billion.