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Railways: Bicycles

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many bicycles were carried by train by each train operating company in each year since 1997; how many bicycle spaces were provided on the railways (a) at the latest available date and (b) in 1997; and which train operating companies have increased the number of bicycle spaces on board their rolling stock since 1997. (181619)

This information is not collected centrally.

We continue to encourage train operators to carry bikes on trains where possible. The Department's Cycling Policy document and the White Paper published last year set out our policy: train operators should facilitate the carriage of cycles on off-peak services and accept the folding cycles at all times. However, during the peak hours, where capacity is under pressure, it can be in the interests of the majority of passengers not to permit non-folding cycles on board. It is for individual train operators to determine which services cannot accommodate non-folding bicycles and of course to determine the number of bikes which can be carried at other times.

We want all Train Operating Companies to take into account the wider benefits of cycling when considering both investments in cycle facilities and their own rules for carrying cycles. This is particularly important when procuring new rolling stock where Space for bicycles must be considered.

The White Paper also announced the setting up of a task force to look into how bike and rail journeys can be better integrated. The task force includes the Association of Train Operating Companies, Network Rail, Passenger Focus and Cycling England. I look forward to hearing about their progress.