PM should use his majority to push for investments, but he may lack the political bravery
The election is over, Boris Johnson has an 80-strong majority to wield, and many are now wondering what the prime minister will do with all this power over the next five years. So here’s an idea: let’s look at what he plans for everyday cycling.
Cycling? Yes, cycling. In political terms it’s not exactly Brexit or the NHS, and if you were to list the average voter’s national concerns it would probably struggle make the top 100. But I’d argue that for Johnson it is a bellwether issue, one that will point to whether he plans to use his majority boldly or complacently.Continue reading...
We compare the manifestos, from Labour’s £7.2bn a year to the Tories’ pothole fund
In an election dominated by Brexit, the climate crisis and the NHS, cycling is not most people’s top priority. However, with transport now accounting for a higher share of overall emissions than any other sector, helping people drive less and cycle more is arguably crucial in tackling climate change.
Improving conditions for cycling could help our congested, polluted towns and cities, tackle the inactivity crisis, reduce the burden on the NHS and make streets and neighbourhoods safer and more pleasant.
“Cycling is good for health, both physical and mental, and it’s good for the environment. Oh, and it’s fun. Both the prime minister and I are keen cyclists (although I’m a little more of a fairweather cyclist!) and our manifesto contains a bold offer for both adults and children. We’ll fund more safe bike lanes, fill in potholes and give every child the chance to learn to ride a bike – safely.”
“I love walking and cycling so I’m proud of the policies we’ve announced today to give millions of people the freedom to walk and cycle along convenient, attractive routes, safe from traffic danger. These policies will slash carbon emissions, tackle air pollution, save our NHS billions and boost our high streets by making towns and city centres more pleasant. Our plans will transform opportunities so that travelling actively and healthily is an option for the many, not just the bold and fearless.”
“Everything stems from responding to the climate emergency and the air pollution crisis with a deadline of 2030. We need to be at continental levels of cycling within 10 years. We should aim for more than half of local trips (up to five miles) to be made on foot or by bike. We need an inclusive approach to walking and cycling that reaches into all communities in villages, towns and cities.
“Making it appealing, safe and easy to walk and cycle would … deal with the air pollution crisis, as well as the climate emergency. Enabling people to walk and cycle, leaving the car at home, perhaps never even buying another car would result in huge health improvements across the country.”
“Quite frankly, for decades governments have not given cycling the kind of priority it deserves. Most progressive policies and initiatives around the country have come from councils and regional bodies taking the lead. They have happened despite, not because of, central government. The Liberal Democrat general election manifesto is committed to introducing a nationwide strategy to promote walking and cycling, including the creation of dedicated (segregated) cycling lanes. Most specifically the party is committed to increasing spending per head fivefold to reach 10% of the transport budget. This would take some time to reach, but by the end of a five-year parliament should be achievable.”Continue reading...
While vertical storage is an effective use of space, it deters cyclists from using trains
Do you ever get the feeling you’re not wanted?
I recently took a trip to Sheffield from my home in York. My plan was to travel by train and cycle at each end.
We're on the way to the #CycleontheSenedd, going from Reading to Cardiff...and are having "fun" with the new #GWR cycle spaces, as our bike won't fit their hooks when there are two. Spot the difference between how @GWRHelp cater for cycle carriage and how it's done elsewhere... pic.twitter.com/jYcsz43oqs
Hi @CrossCountryUK - because your bike spaces are too narrow, this person has been obliged to take up a space meant for two bikes and block one of the doors. Since it’s an ebike it’s probably far too heavy to lift up to the hook, even if the bars did fit into the space. pic.twitter.com/oJfiZVw6IG
There’s literally no point in reserving bike places on @GWRHelp - people get on without them, then with the two actual reservations, you can’t both fit in to the incorrectly lit spaces While navigating all the ‘unreserved’ bikes and prams pic.twitter.com/hpkKW93DGC
This was my 29" wheel MTB with panniers squeezed in to a GWR from Newbury to Reading last Monday. TBH I didn't bother trying to hook up my front wheel. Ticket inspectors passed a couple of times and didn't question the rear sticking out. I did not reserve. pic.twitter.com/64YpIE92qD
As more and more people choose rail as their preferred mode of transport, managing the finite interior space on trains becomes even more important to support all types of customer. This increase in demand for seats and luggage means vertical bike storage offers the best solution for the limited space we have available. We introduced vertical storage on our trains over 10 years ago and this is now common on Britain’s railways, including on the latest high speed long-distance trains currently being introduced with other train operators.
Ensuring our services are inclusive for all our customers, including cyclists, is something we keep under constant review. However, with only 12 months remaining, there is no opportunity to change the design of cycling provision in our current franchise. Although not a huge issue in terms of customer feedback, with only 13 contacts regarding the storage of cycles over the past year, we would be happy to raise this in our ongoing dialogue with the Department for Transport on options for the future of CrossCountry.
We recognise that some customers preferred the storage for bikes in the separate guard’s van on our older trains. However, we had to find space for cycles on the train, while improving space for customers and luggage without cycles. The guard’s van was not ideal either – it meant cyclists had to walk to the very end or very front of the train to store their bikes, go and find their seat and then head all the way back when they wanted to depart.
It also meant an added risk of delay as it could be difficult for customers to get to the end of the train within the scheduled times. The guard’s van also took up the space of about 80 standard class seats on every train – an important consideration given the increasing passenger numbers on the rail network.
Listening to customer feedback, at GWR we do however accept that in practice there have been occasions when the dedicated cycle space is used by other customers to store their luggage, and we are working with Hitachi to further improve onboard signage.
As we introduce new Azuma trains across our network, collecting feedback from our customers is as important as ever. LNER is currently gathering feedback from customers travelling with bikes to help us understand how we can make improvements. We’ll be reviewing this with our engineering team to identify where improvements can be made. Any customers who require extra help as part of their journey with us can book assistance on the LNER website.Continue reading...