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Train companies make it difficult to take bike when cyclists are potential good customers

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Train companies make it difficult to take bike when cyclists are potential good customers

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Public Transport & Cycling
21 replies 3.1K views
Tofu_eaterTofu_eater Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Public Transport & Cycling
Cyclists cannot get coaches or buses.So if they want to take their bike somewhere the ONLY thing they can do is get the train and buy a train ticket.
This potentially makes them good customers that the train companies would want to encourage surely?
So why,do they make it difficult and painful to get the train with a bike?
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  • KeithPKeithP Forumite
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    Could it be because of the space a bike takes up?

    I imagine you could probably fit half a dozen fare paying passengers, albeit standing, in the space taken by one bike.
  • Richard53Richard53 Forumite
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    KeithP wrote: »
    I imagine you could probably fit half a dozen fare paying passengers, albeit standing, in the space taken by one bike.
    No, it's three. I recently travelled from Paddington to West Wales on a train where GWR had taken bookings for 10 carriages but only supplied nine. Three of us became quite good friends while standing nose to nose in the cycle space of the carriage. We could perhaps have squeezed in a fourth if he/she had been a child, but no more. Half a dozen is a gross exaggeration.
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  • PompeyPetePompeyPete Forumite
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    Difficult enough to get luggage on some trains.....you end up putting cases on seats that meant for passengers.
  • KeithPKeithP Forumite
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    Richard53 wrote: »
    No, it's three. I recently travelled from Paddington to West Wales on a train where GWR had taken bookings for 10 carriages but only supplied nine. Three of us became quite good friends while standing nose to nose in the cycle space of the carriage. We could perhaps have squeezed in a fourth if he/she had been a child, but no more. Half a dozen is a gross exaggeration.
    OK, so three fare paying passengers can occupy the space taken by one bike.

    Is the fare for one bike three times the fare for a passenger?

    Or indeed, is there any fare for a bike?

    All I'm doing is addressing the question posed by the OP:
    So why,do they make it difficult and painful to get the train with a bike?
  • Johnmcl7Johnmcl7 Forumite
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    KeithP wrote: »
    OK, so three fare paying passengers can occupy the space taken by one bike.

    Is the fare for one bike three times the fare for a passenger?

    Or indeed, is there any fare for a bike?

    All I'm doing is addressing the question posed by the OP:

    Not really because that's almost entirely wrong since on many trains they have dedicated cycle areas that you won't be fitting any passengers into. Well unless it's people you really, really dislike and don't want them survive the journey and while I'd be happy for you to attempt to prove me wrong I suspect you'd get arrested if you tried to stuff any passengers into the cycle space on a class 43 power car or similar.
  • Johnmcl7Johnmcl7 Forumite
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    Tofu_eater wrote: »
    Cyclists cannot get coaches or buses.So if they want to take their bike somewhere the ONLY thing they can do is get the train and buy a train ticket.
    This potentially makes them good customers that the train companies would want to encourage surely?
    So why,do they make it difficult and painful to get the train with a bike?

    It's something I've wondered myself as it's progressively become much worse. I was trying to book my bike onto a Virgin train and found firstly their site no longer allows you to see visibility of trains with free bike slots. I contacted them using their support form asking them if there's any way I can check without having to phone or contact them directly only to get an automated reply telling me they were busy and will try to reply within 25 days. They replied in 30 and told me to phone them to check, bad enough to take so long to reply but worse not to even bother reading the e-mail first.

    I managed to get a hold of someone from the company through Facebook who advised me every single train in that time frame was fully booked for bikes even though it was months in advance which I don't believe for a second but I couldn't gamble with my travel plans.

    With some of the daft responses above I should point out that the cycle spaces on this particular train are completely separate to the passenger space as they're fitted within each of the locomotives hauling the train.

    I find it frequently difficult to find availability of bike spaces as companies that do show the spaces often make it difficult and time consuming to do so. Taking public transport is limiting at the other end so being able to take the bike is a big advantage especially as it can't come by bus and it's too much of a hassle taking it by plane but each of the last few times I've tried to take it a longer distance I've had to give up trying.
  • YBRYBR Forumite
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    For the trains in my area there is an advertised limit of 2 bikes. They can't be too tall because the space is under luggage racks and cupboards, plus it's the crumple zone so you can't seat passengers there.

    We regularly got 3 or 4 bikes in that space without blocking the exit - provided it was the sensible regular cyclists who knew how best to stack various bikes - but just occasionally the Train Manager would throw them off anyway.
  • martindowmartindow Forumite
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    I suppose it's a commercial decision and they have decided that they would prefer to avoid complaints from passengers standing because of a lack of seats and field complaints from cyclists. The new trains to the SW can't take surfboards unlike the HSTs they are replacing so there's another group of people upset.


    On some journeys you may be able to travel on slower trains which allow you to take cycles without reservations.
  • onomatopoeia99onomatopoeia99 Forumite
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    martindow wrote: »
    The new trains to the SW can't take surfboards unlike the HSTs they are replacing so there's another group of people upset.
    You need a VW camper van to take surfboards, everyone knows that!
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  • PennywisePennywise Forumite
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    I believe there are a few trains in Scotland being modified to take more cycles.

    Unfortunately, there's already a serious shortage of train carriages and many trains are already full with standing passengers a common sight. Trying to fit in more cycles will just make it worse.

    The UK rail system was systematically run down in the 50s/60s/70s/80s, with lines and stations still being downgraded into the 90s. Stations were shortened so it's not just as easy to lengthen trains anymore. The cost of trains has risen massively due to disability accessibility, new regulations re toilet waste, diesel emission restrictions etc. It's going to take several decades to build it up again to get anywhere near the network and services we had mid 20th Century!

    Unfortunately, the UK rail service isn't particularly passenger focused and hasn't been for several decades and it takes years of campaigning to change the smallest of things. You can be excused for believing that the rail system is operated for it's own convenience rather than the travelling public.
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