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Railways: Bicycles

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 1 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to encourage train operating companies to allow greater accommodation for cyclists and their bicycles on trains. (202910)

We continue to encourage train operators to carry bikes on trains where possible. The Department for Transport’s Cycling Policy document and the rail strategy 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 TOCs 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 which includes ATOC, Network Rail, Passenger Focus and Cycling England have begun their work and I look forward to hearing about their progress.