Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tyne & Wear Metro and Bikes

This coming weekend, I'll be up on Tyneside with my bike. The weather forecast is horrendous, so I took a look at the Metro web site to see whether I could, in an emergency, take my bike on board a train. I foolishly though that, having recently returned from Berlin, where the local train operator is actively encouraging cyclists onto their trains with their bikes, there might be a chance.

Alas, the only mention of bicycles is in the "Terms and Conditions" document, which specifically bans bikes from trains. In response I have sent the following letter:

Dear Metro,

Isn't it about time you woke up to your responsibilities regarding climate change and started to make it easier for cyclists to use the metro system? Having viewed your conditions of carriage, I see that you have a blanket ban on bicycles on metro trains. Compare this with more progressive cities like Berlin, where there is currently a major campaign being run by the local train network to encourage cyclists on to their trains with their bikes.

Excuses are now not good enough. We badly need to encourage the use of sustainable transport in our towns and cities. Please reconsider this backward rule, and look at ways in which you can become a partner in finding local solutions to climate change.

Any experiences of trying to take your bike on to local trains would be helpful.


miketually said...

The little local trains that run fron Bishop to Darlington, Middlesbrough, Saltburn, Whitby, etc are great for bikes. No prebooking, just turn up and get on. There are bench-style seats at the end of the carriage which flip up to allow a bike, pushchair, wheelchair, or whatever to be leaned against them.

They were Arriva, but they're owned by a German company now. I'd say that was the reason they are good with bikes, but they were good when they were Arriva.

The only problem is the 'minimalist' timetable...

Steve said...

Its the same story for the Transpennine service (Newcastle, York, Leeds, Manchester).

For Virgin & GNER (Scotland, London & the south) you need to get a *free* cycle reservation from the ticket office before travelling. Virgin have 4 cycle spaces in the end-car with hooks to hang your bike up by the wheel from.

GNER have a large luggage van at the end that your bike just goes in. I've only gone to York via GNER so they just laid it on the floor by the door but there are racks for longer journeys.

I keep meaning to take a few photos of the old local trains from Leeds that have better provision