The Age, 22-01-2008:
THE controversial ban of bikes on trains might be overturned by the State Government, following growing anger from cycling advocates.
On her first day back at work, Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky ordered an immediate review of the rush-hour ban that started only three weeks ago.
The move to ban bikes on Connex and V/Line services sparked heated debate, questioning the Government’s own commitment to more Victorians using sustainable forms of transport.
Ms Kosky told The Age the review would begin immediately, and she would meet cycling groups to find some middle ground. “I’ve had a chat with Connex and V/Line, and we’ve decided to review the full implementation of it,” Ms Kosky said.
“The last message I want to send is that we don’t want people to cycle.”
And the latest Department of Infrastructure figures from a recent passenger survey found that fewer than 100 cyclists carried their bikes on board peak-hour trains each day.
A department source said the ban was not properly worked through, and the backlash was unexpected. It is believed that Ms Kosky had already expressed her frustration to senior officials about how the ban proceeded.
The facilities development manager at Bicycle Victoria, Jason den Hollander, said the organisation recognised the problems of overcrowding on peak-hour trains, but wanted the ban on V/Line services to be dumped completely.
Mr den Hollander said more secure bike parking at stations was needed, and folding bikes should be allowed on all public transport.
The group is also lobbying the department to examine the use of bike-only carriages, or to include carriages with foldable seats to allow for more standing room.
More than 100 cyclists are still expected to arrive at Bendigo station tomorrow to protest against the ban.
Organiser Jill Gibson said she was ecstatic about the review, and looked forward to meeting Ms Kosky.
Ms Gibson said more had to be done to improve regional rail services for all passengers.
“I’m glad she’s opening the book,” she said. “There should be no ban, there should be full access for everyone.”
A spokeswoman for the Bin the Bike Ban lobby group, Brianna Laugher, said Ms Kosky’s move was fantastic.
“Maybe they should make real changes for carriages to hold bikes properly, and we’d like to see more innovative interiors for new trains,” she said.
Cyclists could also pay a small fare to carry a bike on peak-hour trains.
“If that was one solution to overturning the ban, we’d support it,” she said.
The new rules prevent cyclists taking their bikes on zone 1 metropolitan trains that arrive in the city between 7am and 9am, or leave it between 4pm and 7pm. V/Line bans bikes on trains arriving in Melbourne before 9am, and on leaving the city between 4 and 6pm.
Also, Herald Sun, 22-01-2008: Train bike ban to go
A CONTROVERSIAL move to ban bicycles from peak-hour trains looks set to be overturned.
Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky has called for a review, which seems likely to lead to the ban being dropped.
The move comes after the Herald Sun revealed the Department of Infrastructure had authorised the ban to try to make room on crowded trains.
It is believed the minister, who returned to work yesterday, was furious when she discovered the ban had been ordered from January 1 without consultation or any public warning.