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Why is ScotRail so bike-unfriendly

Olomouc, Czech...
Level Contributor
58 posts
68 reviews
Why is ScotRail so bike-unfriendly

I'm spending a wonderful summer in Scotland with the added pleasure of cycling. In Aviemore I witnessed 3 cyclists in the rain being refused travel for only 2 stops on a relatively empty train. When there is plenty space in the end cabin for up to 8 bikes, why is ScotRail refusing more than 2 bikes per train irrespective of whether it's a busy or quiet time of the day? Also, it takes 15 minutes to reserve a bike by phone. Does ScotRail understand the concept of Online booking? I'm a great lover of trains but Scotland's services are unfortunately way behind the rest of Europe irrespective of what some crappy charts or studies attempt to display on the internet. ScotRail, please consider bike users in future and by all means charge a fee, as long as the service is actually worth something. Thank you, Mike

20 replies to this topic
Warwickshire...
Level Contributor
1,646 posts
2 reviews
1. Re: Why is ScotRail so bike-unfriendly

There is talk of them putting in special carriages on some trains for bicycles and other sports equipment next year

i think it was the West Highland Lines from Glasgow to Oban and Fort William/Mallaig

Guildford, United...
Level Contributor
2,987 posts
83 reviews
2. Re: Why is ScotRail so bike-unfriendly

There was a time when British trains were very bike friendly, but that was years ago! Now the trains are too short and too crowded to have adequate space for bikes and most cyclists I know have given up and bought a rack to take their bikes by car.

Germany is generally much better organised for bikes.

Albufeira, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Algarve, Faro, Portugal
Level Contributor
58,079 posts
41 reviews
3. Re: Why is ScotRail so bike-unfriendly

I have seen the same on my current trip in France, where I have hired a bike. Trains on rural lines are too small (just two or three carriages) for anything but a tiny number of bikes. It's very risky just turning up and hoping a space is available. What space there was on many types of train is now required by law to be available for wheelchairs, baby carriages etc. There is no financial gain to be had in making more space for bikes when the trains are full anyway.

If Scotrail and others can find a way to add a 'bike car' to some trains then good for them, but I suspect the bean counters will have their say first.

The times we live in.

Warwickshire...
Level Contributor
1,646 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: Why is ScotRail so bike-unfriendly

re 2

i can remember when BR used to charge half fare for bicycles and for certain tickets was a quarter

I was quite a cost when traveling from the Midlands to Scotland or down to the West Country

Guildford, United...
Level Contributor
2,987 posts
83 reviews
5. Re: Why is ScotRail so bike-unfriendly

My cycling started at around the period in the late 1970s when bikes on trains became free, but there was plenty of van space for them as trains were designed to be able to carry post bags. I remember a memorable trip back from Devon when both vans on the train were on their second layer of bikes.

If there were a charge for bikes then there would be some incentive to provide somewhere on trains to put them, but it won't happen any time soon.

Kent, UK
Level Contributor
7,769 posts
11 reviews
6. Re: Why is ScotRail so bike-unfriendly

>>If there were a charge for bikes then there would be some incentive to provide somewhere on trains to put them, but it won't happen any time soon.<<

A space where? Giving more space to bikes means taking away space for seats.

When i take my bike on the train I just leave it standing against the doors, the same as most people do.

Hatfield, United...
Level Contributor
787 posts
132 reviews
7. Re: Why is ScotRail so bike-unfriendly

Back in the day, British trains had a "guards van" where large objects such as bikes could be put. Now that most Train Operators in the UK rent their carriages from a third party (part of Thatcher's privatisation plan to make it difficult for railways to be re-nationalised) they have no incentive to offer them for free, but if they made a charge, no-one would use them.

Stirling, United...
Destination Expert
for Stirling
Level Contributor
15,496 posts
7 reviews
8. Re: Why is ScotRail so bike-unfriendly

It was under John Major that the railways were privatised, using the Railways Act 1993, following European Union Directive 91/440.

Warwickshire...
Level Contributor
1,646 posts
2 reviews
9. Re: Why is ScotRail so bike-unfriendly

That must be the same European Directive that leave most of French railways under state control and lots of UK Train Operated Companies controlled by state owned Companies such as DB

Hatfield, United...
Level Contributor
787 posts
132 reviews
10. Re: Why is ScotRail so bike-unfriendly

#9

And London buses controlled by RATP and Netherlands Railways! Weren't the Railways privatised in a hurry to avoid the directive?

Edited: 08 August 2018, 00:29
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