Since WAGN’s proposed cycle ban was uncovered, we have received many questions from people concerned about the impact the ban will have on the 200-or-so cyclists likely to be affected.
We have summarised these questions, and addressed them on to WAGN (on 19 April, 2000). As soon as we get a response, we will put the answers up here.
Update: 2 May: WAGN have now responded: WAGN response
The Ban – and avoiding the need for it
Why is WAGN proposing to introduce a ban on cycle carriage on some trains?
What exactly will the conditions of the ban be?
When will it take it effect?
Are bank holidays included in the ban?
Please list the trains that will be affected.
How will the ban be enforced?
How will WAGN review the scheme – and seek feedback on the effectiveness of the alternatives proposed?
What is your answer to the question “Why isn’t WAGN trying to accommodate these paying customers?” (is WAGN saying ‘there’s so much customer demand we’ve had to ban it’?)
Why can’t WAGN simply run more trains to cater for the proven demand – of both cyclists and non-cyclists?
Why can’t WAGN just add an extra carriage to some of the trains that are affected – it’s obvious there’s a need for more capacity?
Which of the affected trains are 4-car ones, and which are 8-car?
If short platforms or a reason for not adding extra carriages, and a train stops at a mixture of short and long platforms, why not just say ‘people getting off at Waterbeach please travel in the first four coaches’?
Why can’t WAGN just put lots more tip-up seats on trains?
Why can’t WAGN put on a special ‘cycle only express’ in the morning and evening rush hours?
Why not have a guard’s van?
How will the ban be shown on pocket timetables and posters?
Consultation and Publicity
Did you consult existing regular customers on all the trains affected to find out whether the bike hire scheme would accommodate their needs?
How regularly did you survey levels of use on existing trains – did you cover school time and holidays – summer and winter weather? Is the peak level of usage consistent throughout the year, or is it just occasional?
How will cyclists affected by the ban be notified – and how can you guarantee that people – especially occasional travellers and those coming from further afield – won’t miss out on being notified?
When will the ban be publicised?. How much time will this give customers to make alternative arrangements?
If the news hadn’t been leaked at the start of April, or discovered by accident, when would the ban have been publicised?
Will you make sure that staff on National Rail Enquiries know about the specific details of the ban?
How will WAGN continue to publicise the cycle hire scheme to new customers – who discover that there is a bike ban?
Will there be a warning period, during which the ban will not be strictly enforced?
The Impact of the Ban
Will the ban affect people getting off at stations before Cambridge, e.g. travelling from Ely to Waterbeach?
Will the ban affect people travelling on trains passing through Cambridge?
The cycle hire scheme is no use for people changing trains at Cambridge, e.g. Waterbeach -> Cambridge ->Foxton.
There are not nearly so many bikes on the non-stop trains from Kings Cross to Cambridge – so why ban bikes on those? There are people who cycle to Kings Cross, and then cycle to their destination in or near Cambridge. On these trains, there’s also no issue of bikes being in the doorway and people wanting to get off at intermediate stations.
What happens if someone uses a train that arrives at 7:30 am, say, but they miss a connection, or a train is cancelled. Are they going to have to wait an hour?
‘I have a choice of two trains, and I’ve never had any problems before. However, one of these would be affected by the ban. If everyone from that train travelled on the later one, a new problem would be created on that one.’
Cycle Hire – and related issues
How does the free cycle hire scheme work?
The cycle hire place isn’t open at 7:45, when the first passengers affected by the ban will arrive in Cambridge. Are there plans to open it earlier?
I work part-time, so I don’t have a season ticket – which means I don’t qualify for a free bike.
I don’t want to have to collect a bike from the hire shop every day, or adjust saddle and handlebar heights daily. Can I keep it for a longer period, parking it overnight at the racks at Cambridge station?
A bike is a very personal item, chosen for its fit – hiring one is not like hiring a cab. Some have said they don’t want hire bikes, they want their own bikes.
‘I need a very large bike – 25″ frame – will the hire shop have bikes that big – and will it have a pannier rack?’
What long-term guarantees will WAGN give that the free cycles service won’t be cancelled sometime in the future?
Are hire bikes available for school-children on these trains?
Will WAGN consider lending folding bikes to people who don’t have huge distances to cycle, to avoid the need for cycle parking at train stations at either end of the train journey?
If the proposed changes to the cycle hire scheme are not implemented by 28 May, will the ban be deferred?
Cycle parking and security
WAGN is assuming that many customers will use free hire bikes, and park them over night and at weekends at Cambridge station. The cycle parking stands at Cambridge are once again full (and we believe that this is genuine demand – so a cull would only be a sort-term solution.) WAGN may be creating a demand for 50 to 100 extra spaces, or more. How much extra cycle parking will be installed in Cambridge to cater for this extra demand?
How much extra cycle parking will be installed at other WAGN stations for customers affected by the ban?
I cycle from home to the nearest station. There is nowhere to park my bike there, and it’s an unstaffed station. If I used the cycle hire facility I’d be worried about my bike being parked there all day every day.
Cycles parked at Meldreth station, for example, have been vandalised. This is not an unusual occurence – we have been told about several examples, e.g. ‘I only left my bike at Meldreth station once. That was the only occasion on which I have had a bicycle vandalised in the entire time I’ve lived in or around Cambridge.’
If proposed addition of cycle parking at local stations is not implemented by 28 May, will the ban be deferred?