Can you take bikes on replacement buses?

JKF

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I’ve been caught out by this once, having had a nice ride along the Leeds-Liverpool canal from Kirkstall to Shipley and wanting to come home on the train. Took for granted that this would be as normal, not knowing that replacement services were running. I can’t actually remember how this was resolved, but think they just stuck my bike in the luggage bit of the coach.
 
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Zoom

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I've arrived at Three Bridges station a few times with a non folding bike. It's very much up to the driver. If it's a coach with underneath luggage provision usually no problem. On traditional buses it's usually not allowed although I have been allowed on a double decker although all the other passengers had to go on the upper deck (it was not that full)

generally if it's an advertised rather than emergency bus replacement they are less sympathetic. I never plan to take my bike on an advertised bus replacement but I do own a car
 

maniacmartin

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There is a lack of joined up thinking regarding cycles across the whole public transport industry, not just around RRBs. I often think that bicycle provision is an afterthought that the industry's heart isn't really in. Some trains require reservations; some don't allow reservations etc. We're also still buying rolling stock doesn't have enough places where bicycles can be put (it doesn't have to be lost space - this could be foldup seats that could be used as seating at peak times and cycles/luggage off-peak for example).

All of my experiences of taking bicycles on trains have not gone smoothly, including being refused carriage when an emergency RRB is laid on, or the bicycle space on the train is full. So now I use my car to transport my bicycle as I know I can rely on it. That's pretty sad, and not going to encourage people to stay healthy but it is what it is.
 

Bletchleyite

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All of my experiences of taking bicycles on trains have not gone smoothly, including being refused carriage when an emergency RRB is laid on, or the bicycle space on the train is full. So now I use my car to transport my bicycle as I know I can rely on it. That's pretty sad, and not going to encourage people to stay healthy but it is what it is.

A lot of it can be dealt with by cycle hire (London style in cities, mountain bikes etc in places like the New Forest), though I suppose that doesn't provide for "proper" road cyclists who want their own.
 

Doctor Fegg

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A decent folding bike works wonders - by which I mean something like a Bike Friday or an Airnimal. (Bromptons are great if all you're doing is short-distance city riding.) But they're none of them cheap.
 

unlevel42

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There is a lack of joined up thinking regarding cycles across the whole public transport industry, not just around RRBs. I often think that bicycle provision is an afterthought that the industry's heart isn't really in. Some trains require reservations; some don't allow reservations etc. We're also still buying rolling stock doesn't have enough places where bicycles can be put (it doesn't have to be lost space - this could be foldup seats that could be used as seating at peak times and cycles/luggage off-peak for example).

All of my experiences of taking bicycles on trains have not gone smoothly, including being refused carriage when an emergency RRB is laid on, or the bicycle space on the train is full. So now I use my car to transport my bicycle as I know I can rely on it. That's pretty sad, and not going to encourage people to stay healthy but it is what it is.
How does putting a bike on a train/car help people get healthy?
What health benefit does an occasional trip give?
The environmental impact of transporting bikes around in cars and trains is negative.
Joined up thinking should be about making long term choices about jobs, location, need and method of travel.
Buses, trams and trains are not there is help out the wet, windblown and knackered and there is no capacity to fill up trains with leisure cyclists
A bike is not just for Christmas.
 

Bletchleyite

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How does putting a bike on a train/car help people get healthy?

It encourages leisure cycling, and sometimes allows trips to be made that are not possible by train alone.

What health benefit does an occasional trip give?

More than no trip.

The environmental impact of transporting bikes around in cars and trains is negative.

Cars yes. Trains it is neutral, because the train operates whether the bike is on it or not, and at 20kg or so max the bike will have almost no impact on the power used/fuel burn of the train.

Joined up thinking should be about making long term choices about jobs, location, need and method of travel.

Which can include bicycles, given that trains carry them.

Buses, trams and trains are not there is help out the wet, windblown and knackered and there is no capacity to fill up trains with leisure cyclists

Off-peak there is plenty of capacity for leisure cyclists on trains.

A bike is not just for Christmas.

Indeed, so why not use it in conjunction with a train to widen your options for travel and leisure?
 

unlevel42

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It encourages leisure cycling, and sometimes allows trips to be made that are not possible by train alone.

More than no trip.

Cars yes. Trains it is neutral, because the train operates whether the bike is on it or not, and at 20kg or so max the bike will have almost no impact on the power used/fuel burn of the train.

Which can include bicycles, given that trains carry them.

Off-peak there is plenty of capacity for leisure cyclists on trains.

Indeed, so why not use it in conjunction with a train to widen your options for travel and leisure?

Widen my travel options?
From the day when I first put my bike on the Emerald Isle Express to London I knew that a successful journey with a bike would need planning - cycling to Charing Cross was challenging.
When you use the trains a lot, as a cyclist you note the other cyclists and the journeys they make, the attitudes of cyclists towards each other and between them and passengers.
The wide variety of uses require a wide variety of incompatible solutions.
It is typical of the lack of thinking and snobbishness that we don't prioritize teenagers and young people with bikes who have the least choice in how they travel for work, business and education who, for at least a few years, will be regular users unlike the fair-weather, loud and vociferous ...., who unlike regular users don't know when bus substitutions take place.

Today me, my Brompton and my Derbyshire Wayfarer(£6.70) did Sheffield, Derby and Cromford and a 52a for the 700' climb home.
 
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Rail Blues

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A lot of it can be dealt with by cycle hire (London style in cities, mountain bikes etc in places like the New Forest), though I suppose that doesn't provide for "proper" road cyclists who want their own.
London style bike hire is okay for leisure hire or a one off but as commuting devices they're too slow and too heavy on anything but a short flat stretch that you could probably walk (deliberately so, they need to be sturdy and low maintenance) but for people who need to commute to a railhead regularly and then a distance away from the railhead at the other end, they're not much use. Not least because your office or home might not be near a docking station.

The rail industry needs much more creative thinking on this topic of they're to do anything other than pay lip service to joined up transport and environmental impact.
 
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No bike should EVER be accepted on a rail replacement vehicle, the reason being the problem only arises on the return journey when someone has been given "customer service" on the outward journey contrary to the correct policy and then the driver coming back won't accept them....... I had a drama at a station once where kids with BMXs were accepted outward but then rejected return. Dad in a pickup had to drive 40 miles at night to retrieve kids and bikes. He wasn't amused as you could imagine. Easier to say no at the start.

There's one First vehicle converted for bicycle rail replacement use. Not my pic. https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/47606789361/
What's this a bus for bikes? I've never seen that before is that a new thing?
 

185

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Merseyrail shutdown a couple of years back had a 12 seater rented minibus, with a bike trailer towed behind, driven by an Arriva Birkenhead driver. Sort of essential as the ferries were off thus utterly no other way across the Mersey for cyclists.
 

al78

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A lot of it can be dealt with by cycle hire (London style in cities, mountain bikes etc in places like the New Forest), though I suppose that doesn't provide for "proper" road cyclists who want their own.
It doesn't provide for those who are making through journeys with their bikes, such as me visiting my family by train, I take my folding bike to get between the London terminii and to get from Manchester Piccadilly to Swinton.
 

philthetube

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We're also still buying rolling stock doesn't have enough places where bicycles can be put (it doesn't have to be lost space - this could be foldup seats that could be used as seating at peak times and cycles/luggage off-peak for example).


this only works if bikes are not allowed on busy trains otherwise recipe for arguments
 

LSWR Cavalier

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If a cycle can be put in the luggage boot on a coach, under the seats, is there a way to secure it so it can not slide around and be damaged?
 

mike57

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I think the OP question indicates a much wider problem with cycles on trains, as the current situation is unworkable in a lot of areas. TOCs requiring reservations is fine but that rules out the commuter/traveller who may need a flexible journey. Provision on busy trains is barely adequate and may be limited by time on some routes. RRBs are a problem. Folding bikes go some way but are not suitable for everyone. I had a bad experience with one a few years ago where the frame failed, despositing me on the ground in a heap, cuts and bruises resulting. I was at the top end of the weight limit, for larger rider they are not suitable.

I think that this is one area where it needs intervention if we are to keep the current TOC based method of service delivery, to set out a common set of rules across the system, so that as a minimum its easy work out what is possible.

RRBs are also an easy way out for a lot of operators, in some cases there are diversionary routes, but because of route knowledge these cannot be used. Perhaps if there was a substantial penalty for TOCs using RRBs where diversionary routes exist there would be less reliance on them. One thought would be to use the trailer idea as used by the airport buses in London in earlier years, TOCs or whoever purchase the trailers, relativley low outlay, and contracted companies have to provide standardised (across network) towing hardware. Buses/Coaches then perform their normal duties without trailer, and when pressed into RRB duty collect a trailer for bulky luggage and bikes. Probably too joined up for the current railways. A coach can store 4 full size bikes in the luggage area under the body but that doesnt leave much room for other luggage (used to travel on a private company provided coach service between two locations, and people would take their bikes to give them some mobility at the other end, it was part of what made it work instead of going by car)

Rail travel and cycling to and from stations at either end of journey should be a good way of travelling, reducing car usage. Cycling is good for the 1-5 mile jouneys where walking would take too long. As for a charge to carry a bike, thats fine as long as service provision is adequate, but realistically given the current design of rolling stock that is not going to happen, many trains do not even have adequate luggage storage. Without going to far off topic I think it is part of the 'How should the railways deliver their service' discussion. Are they a public service in a true sense whose purpose is to allow other parts of the economy to function better. I dont think carrying cycles is ever going to be profitable for a TOC, hence the current squeeze in terms of pre booking etc. So it really is going to be up to governments to set a direction on this, but I dont think that will happen.

I think what will happen is that bikes will be squeezed off trains, a death of a 1000 cuts, reservation requirements, lack of capacity, time of day restrictions, RRBs... Not the right answer, but its the way its heading.
 

Robertj21a

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I think the OP question indicates a much wider problem with cycles on trains, as the current situation is unworkable in a lot of areas. TOCs requiring reservations is fine but that rules out the commuter/traveller who may need a flexible journey. Provision on busy trains is barely adequate and may be limited by time on some routes. RRBs are a problem. Folding bikes go some way but are not suitable for everyone. I had a bad experience with one a few years ago where the frame failed, despositing me on the ground in a heap, cuts and bruises resulting. I was at the top end of the weight limit, for larger rider they are not suitable.

I think that this is one area where it needs intervention if we are to keep the current TOC based method of service delivery, to set out a common set of rules across the system, so that as a minimum its easy work out what is possible.

RRBs are also an easy way out for a lot of operators, in some cases there are diversionary routes, but because of route knowledge these cannot be used. Perhaps if there was a substantial penalty for TOCs using RRBs where diversionary routes exist there would be less reliance on them. One thought would be to use the trailer idea as used by the airport buses in London in earlier years, TOCs or whoever purchase the trailers, relativley low outlay, and contracted companies have to provide standardised (across network) towing hardware. Buses/Coaches then perform their normal duties without trailer, and when pressed into RRB duty collect a trailer for bulky luggage and bikes. Probably too joined up for the current railways. A coach can store 4 full size bikes in the luggage area under the body but that doesnt leave much room for other luggage (used to travel on a private company provided coach service between two locations, and people would take their bikes to give them some mobility at the other end, it was part of what made it work instead of going by car)

Rail travel and cycling to and from stations at either end of journey should be a good way of travelling, reducing car usage. Cycling is good for the 1-5 mile jouneys where walking would take too long. As for a charge to carry a bike, thats fine as long as service provision is adequate, but realistically given the current design of rolling stock that is not going to happen, many trains do not even have adequate luggage storage. Without going to far off topic I think it is part of the 'How should the railways deliver their service' discussion. Are they a public service in a true sense whose purpose is to allow other parts of the economy to function better. I dont think carrying cycles is ever going to be profitable for a TOC, hence the current squeeze in terms of pre booking etc. So it really is going to be up to governments to set a direction on this, but I dont think that will happen.

I think what will happen is that bikes will be squeezed off trains, a death of a 1000 cuts, reservation requirements, lack of capacity, time of day restrictions, RRBs... Not the right answer, but its the way its heading.
I couldn't agree more. Carrying non-folding bikes on trains is a very small % of the volumes travelling but creates a disproportionate volume of problems, particularly whenever a RRB is involved. Surely, it would be better to simply say that trains can only take bikes that fold down?
 

LSWR Cavalier

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It would be good if trains had more multipurpose areas with no seats, for cycles, prams wheelchairs. I like standing on a train, as long as the windows are high enough to see out of.

Folding cycles are expensive and have other disadvantages, not just for large or heavy people, besides, I have enough cycles already.
 

Bletchleyite

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I couldn't agree more. Carrying non-folding bikes on trains is a very small % of the volumes travelling but creates a disproportionate volume of problems, particularly whenever a RRB is involved. Surely, it would be better to simply say that trains can only take bikes that fold down?

The answer to that is that the simple answer is rarely the best one.
 

mike57

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I couldn't agree more. Carrying non-folding bikes on trains is a very small % of the volumes travelling but creates a disproportionate volume of problems, particularly whenever a RRB is involved. Surely, it would be better to simply say that trains can only take bikes that fold down?
I think thats where we are heading but politically that wouldn't be acceptable, so make it really difficult to take your full size bike, then say 'no one takes their bike on the train', therefore we dont need the bike spaces.
 

AM9

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A properly folding up bike like a Brompton when its in a bag is usually considered as luggage. (LU excepted?) ...
A Brompton with the rain cover zipped up is considered to be luggage on LU as well, - I've taken mine on deep tube trains in the peak as well and never had any problems. Except the rear wheel tread and carrier mini wheels, the whole bike is covered by the nylon rain cover. In my case I have the extended saddle pin so the saddle protudes from the top, but it is a useful lifting handle anyway.
 

Bletchleyite

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I think thats where we are heading but politically that wouldn't be acceptable, so make it really difficult to take your full size bike, then say 'no one takes their bike on the train', therefore we dont need the bike spaces.

Or provide the spaces. Planned rail replacement doesn't cause that much of a problem (because cyclists know to check before travelling, and it's quicker to cycle than take a local rail replacement anyway), with regard to unplanned it just needs the railway to be more accommodating, e.g. allow travel by normally unpermitted routes, and perhaps if a bike does need to be "abandoned" for unplanned RR reasons to provide a free ticket with which to return and retrieve it.

This Forum is very anti-bikes-on-trains, I've never really understood why. I think it's a leaning towards "anything that makes operations in any way awkward is bad, wouldn't the railway be great without those pesky passengers and their stuff"?

Bromptons do fulfil a useful role but they are not perfect, they are expensive and not suitable for everyone. Larger folding bikes, i.e. the ones that are just normal bikes but with a hinge in the middle of the frame, in my experience cause more issues than full-sized ones, as put one in a vestibule and they take up nearly half of it width wise.
 

Wolfie

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It would be good if trains had more multipurpose areas with no seats, for cycles, prams wheelchairs. I like standing on a train, as long as the windows are high enough to see out of.

Folding cycles are expensive and have other disadvantages, not just for large or heavy people, besides, I have enough cycles already.
In one way l agree. However l have seen problems when a wheelchair user, who should have priority, needs to use a space that is full of bikes.
 

Bletchleyite

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In one way l agree. However l have seen problems when a wheelchair user, who should have priority, needs to use a space that is full of bikes.

The answer to this is to make separate provision for each. If the train is quiet that is no great problem, if it's busy then both (absent a wheelchair or bike) are useful standing spaces. Tip-up seats are only really useful for that very niche situation where the train has all other seats taken but fewer than about 12 standees (in say a typical 4-car EMU).

I think cycle reservations should be compulsory myself (but available up to 5 minutes before departure via lots of channels, such as TVM, ticket office, online, a single national phone app, all booking engines as a mandatory certification requirement, on an app on the guard's phone if you approach a non-DOO train and ask if there is space). I wouldn't mind paying a couple of quid a pop to help fund that and to stop people making speculative reservations, a quid back if you cancel would encourage people to cancel ones they didn't need, again via any of those channels. Obviously as you wouldn't be able to reserve on a RRB you'd know that it wasn't an option then.
 

Wolfie

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The answer to this is to make separate provision for each. If the train is quiet that is no great problem, if it's busy then both (absent a wheelchair or bike) are useful standing spaces.
In principle l agree.
 

LSWR Cavalier

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Some of the double-deckers in Germany have no fixed seats downstairs, just tip-up seats. Sometimes these are locked up to avoid conflicts between cyclists and other passengers. Trains from the country into Berlin are so popular Sunday evenings that one might not get a space. Cyclists are encouraged to rent machines locally. Someone said: 'travelling on a cycle can be like heaven, travelling with a cycle can be like hell'.
 

LAX54

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I think the OP question indicates a much wider problem with cycles on trains, as the current situation is unworkable in a lot of areas. TOCs requiring reservations is fine but that rules out the commuter/traveller who may need a flexible journey. Provision on busy trains is barely adequate and may be limited by time on some routes. RRBs are a problem. Folding bikes go some way but are not suitable for everyone. I had a bad experience with one a few years ago where the frame failed, despositing me on the ground in a heap, cuts and bruises resulting. I was at the top end of the weight limit, for larger rider they are not suitable.

I think that this is one area where it needs intervention if we are to keep the current TOC based method of service delivery, to set out a common set of rules across the system, so that as a minimum its easy work out what is possible.

RRBs are also an easy way out for a lot of operators, in some cases there are diversionary routes, but because of route knowledge these cannot be used. Perhaps if there was a substantial penalty for TOCs using RRBs where diversionary routes exist there would be less reliance on them. One thought would be to use the trailer idea as used by the airport buses in London in earlier years, TOCs or whoever purchase the trailers, relativley low outlay, and contracted companies have to provide standardised (across network) towing hardware. Buses/Coaches then perform their normal duties without trailer, and when pressed into RRB duty collect a trailer for bulky luggage and bikes. Probably too joined up for the current railways. A coach can store 4 full size bikes in the luggage area under the body but that doesnt leave much room for other luggage (used to travel on a private company provided coach service between two locations, and people would take their bikes to give them some mobility at the other end, it was part of what made it work instead of going by car)

Rail travel and cycling to and from stations at either end of journey should be a good way of travelling, reducing car usage. Cycling is good for the 1-5 mile jouneys where walking would take too long. As for a charge to carry a bike, thats fine as long as service provision is adequate, but realistically given the current design of rolling stock that is not going to happen, many trains do not even have adequate luggage storage. Without going to far off topic I think it is part of the 'How should the railways deliver their service' discussion. Are they a public service in a true sense whose purpose is to allow other parts of the economy to function better. I dont think carrying cycles is ever going to be profitable for a TOC, hence the current squeeze in terms of pre booking etc. So it really is going to be up to governments to set a direction on this, but I dont think that will happen.

I think what will happen is that bikes will be squeezed off trains, a death of a 1000 cuts, reservation requirements, lack of capacity, time of day restrictions, RRBs... Not the right answer, but its the way its heading.
Who is going to pay for the bus to be converted to be able to tow a trailer ? Electrics, Tow Hitch,Driver Training, additonal insurance etc, how many would be needed ? not every RRB on a certain section would be able to have one, so you may end up waiting an hour or more for it to come back !
Maybe bikes on normal bus routes should be addresses first, then move on to RRB's :) in L.A the Metro buses can take a bike on a rack in front of the bus, but looked like it was a max of 2.
 

mike57

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This Forum is very anti-bikes-on-trains, I've never really understood why. I think it's a leaning towards "anything that makes operations in any way awkward is bad, wouldn't the railway be great without those pesky passengers and their stuff"?
Its not just this forum, I have occasionally taken my bike on the train, and on the TPE 185's there is always someone sat in the tip up seats where you store bikes, and it becomes a battle of wills to get them to move, otherwise you end up blocking the doorway and walkway. To be honest I avoid taking my bike if I can, the system is just not user friendly for bikes.

I actually think that a point is being missed, as even a fat old cyclist like myself can manage 5 miles without discomfort, and if you take 5 miles cycle + train you cover just about all urban areas and a lot of rural ones as a potentional rail+bike journey, with in all probability a journey time which is competive with using a private car, may be a bit longer, but not massivley so. But then if even 5% of passengers were taking bikes with them capacity for cycle storage on trains would be an issue, so there is no will to encourage rail+bike. Cycle hire systems could be another answer, but you would need a national system, and I cant see it happening.
 

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