To: Great Western Railways
Bike Reservations on Trains - the beginning of the end
Offer more bike storage on trains. And don't make bike reservation mandatory.
Why is this important?
I learnt yesterday coming from London to Bristol that it is now 'mandatory' to make bike reservations in advance for all travel on GWR trains, a policy I was told (by a guard) came into effect on 16th May, and is largely because of new high speed trains. Are GWR reducing storage on their trains? Probably, and down to 2 or 3 on some 'high speed' trains, instead of increasing to meet demand.
This will obviously discourage bike use with great implications, particularly on rural routes, and turning up to catch a train anywhere will be really difficult. What about workers cycling several miles to and from stations to get to work?
Isn't it government policy to encourage less car use, supporting more sustainable, less damaging, and healthier modes of transport?
Particularly on main routes like Bristol to London, a journey that is already a silly £56 at its cheapest (around 40% more expensive than a similar journey in Europe) for a 'flexible' OFF-PEAK return. Those who need to be flexible will no longer be able to be 'flexible' - and not everyone can afford a Brompton, or the additional charges of London public transport on top. UK rail travel seems to be increasingly inaccessible for most people.
I took a trip to Sheffield to cycle in the Peak District recently, and on a Bristol to Sheffield train (£93.80 for an OFF-PEAK advance) there were only 3 bike slots. It cost a friend who was driving £40 in fuel, he carried 3 people, 3 bikes and spent a good amount of time in traffic jams....