31 January 2008: Bicycle Victoria have updated information on these following pages:
Taking your bike on trains in metropolitan Melbourne
31 January 08: General update on bikes and public transport
Plus summary of our meeting with the Minister. Link to page
29 Jan 08 With the bikes on peak hour trains scenario now under review by the Minister for Public Transport, Lyn Kosky, Bicycle Victoria will continue talks with the Minister and the Department of Infrastructure. We believe there should be an initiative to achieve on-going integration of all types of public transport and bicycle in Victoria that will make it easy for people to combine travel and in so doing become not only more active but help to alleviate Melbourne’s congestion issues and carbon emissions.
10 Jan 08 Bicycle Victoria’s overall aim is to make it easier to ride your bicycle to and from train stations. We’re also of the view that bicycles should be allowed on trains.
(see more at link supplied above)
Taking your bike on V/Line trains.
31 January 08: General update on bikes and public transport.
Plus summary of our meeting with the Minister. Link to page.
(see more at link supplied above)
Public transport and bikes
The bikes-on-trains issue continues to develop and it is a good time to clarify our position. (Something we haven’t done well so far!). This summary describes developments so far and the position Bicycle Victoria has put to the Minister.
31 January 2008
On 1 January bans on carrying bikes on some metro and regional train services came into effect. (See Links)
This ban sparked substantial media comment and letters to the Minister and Bicycle Victoria. Every aspect of the ban was commented on from ‘surely we are trying to encourage both bike riding and public transport use’ to comments on the technicalities of the ban and examples of how it would disrupt their travel arrangements.
In the light of this public debate, on 22 January the Minister announced a review of the ban. Well done everyone who wrote to the Minister. There is no doubt the strong public feedback convinced the Minister to announce the review.
Some of the letters we received expressed disappointment with Bicycle Victoria’s position on the bans. This criticism is valid and appropriate. The various criticisms, the issue and the events of the last month were reviewed in depth at a recent Bicycle Victoria Board meeting.
As an organisation we would like apologise to people who feel we let the side down with our acceptance of the ban. It was never our intention to ‘support’ the ban – a poor choice of words. We felt that we reluctantly had to accept the decision – however misguided or ill conceived – as it was being made in the interests of the broader travelling public. We could and should have handled it better.
We also apologise for causing concern through a poorly articulated position. We did not respond quickly to an issue that was clearly of strong concern.
Unfortunately – according to the feedback – we have left the impression that we are not working continuously to get More People Cycling More Often. We have been working for some time on the solutions listed below and believe that members will be supportive of our approach. Another of the accurate critiques was that we haven’t – in one place – outlined the initiatives we have been advocating or undertaking in the area of bikes and public transport. This page is a start at that.
Meeting with Minister
Bicycle Victoria has since had its first meeting with Minister Kosky since she became Minister in 2006. She told us of her current discussions with those involved in the ban including the Department, Connex, VLine and Metlink.
It appears that she is preparing to reshape public transport policy in a number of ways in favour of bike riders. If so, this could unblock a number of reforms and changes that we have been (unsuccessfully) advocating for some time including lifting other bans on bikes across the system. It could also see bikes moving into the mainstream to become a partner with public transport as part of a sustainable transport solution rather than as a problem.
At the meeting we raised the following issues.
System to system
We encouraged the Minister to initiate an on-going system-to-system integration project that will make it easy for people to combine travel by all types of public transport and bicycle in Victoria
In some places there is a strong interdependence between the ‘bike system’ and the ‘public transport system’. In Japan for example railway station entrances are surrounded by parked bicycles. In the Netherlands (1999) 30-40% of train travellers reach the railway station by bicycle. 14% of bus/tram/subway travellers get to the service by bike and 60-70% of express bus passengers use a bike to get to the service.
We told the Minister that Victoria has the opportunity to make a similarly high level of connection between the bicycle and public transport systems with substantial and wide reaching benefits. Furthermore the recent public debate showed that the community understands that this opportunity and wants the Government to act.
We identified three types of ‘combined trips’ that people want to make.
1. Ride and park
For ride and park to be effective we need to develop:
Connections from the existing network to public transport nodes. Some stations like Bayswater, Eltham or Brighton Beach are right on the bike network. Some stations need a connection. At Hoppers Crossing for example the path runs out 100m away from the station and there is no pedestrian bicycle crossing from the shops.
Access to the station. Some stations and public transport nodes need reworking to improve access through car parks including providing ramps.
Priority, secure parking at nodes. This is being provided on the West Australian train system. We are proposing the Government roll out a similar but improved system based on a card-access cage right near the entrance to the station that is properly lit and covered by CCTV. Members will have seen the rather slow progress of the cage trial in Eltham. This trial – to be constructed in March – will allow us to test the ‘membership’ system for the cage and see how many people a cage with 20 parking spaces can support. We have asked for a roll out of cages, prioritised by demand across the metro and regional rail system. Public access parking rails need to be clustered near the cages and the current locations and supply reviewed and improved.
2. Carry on
For Carry on to be effective we need:
The bikes on train bans to be lifted.
Bike sized general luggage areas on public transport vehicles, starting with trains. Some metro train carriages have such an area with folding seats that works well. These are hard to identify when you are waiting on the platform and we have asked for the platform or carriage window to be marked.
We have asked for bikes to be allowed on buses and trams. The debate in January was about trains but we have long advocated for similar spaces on trams and bus, both of which will not currently carry bikes. Some of the trams running in Melbourne are the same vehicles that run in Europe and have a ‘bike space’ on board.
We have asked for the VLine coach rules to be changed to allow bikes on all coaches, enabling bike riders to plan their journeys with certainty.
We have asked for permission to carry a fold up bike on all public transport vehicles. Folding bikes are currently banned on trams and buses and we have been asking for many years for this ban to be lifted. Removal of this ban will allow people to ride-public transport-ride as well as use taxis to complete their journeys. We expect the use of folding bikes to grow and have encouraged the Minister to support this method of combined travel.
Codes of conduct. We have asked for a ‘share the space’ code of conduct to be developed and displayed in public transport vehicles so that people with bikes know the etiquette and can be supported by the code. The code will also allow passengers to ask someone with a bike to do the right thing.
3. Ride away
For Ride away to be effective we need:
Connections and routes – as above.
Priority, secure parking at nodes – as above. This will allow people to keep a bike at ‘the other end’. For example someone who catches the train to Clayton might want to ride to Monash University.
Velib – the French hire bike system – or other bike rental solutions. Someone might for example arrive at Southern Cross and use a short term hire bike to get to Docklands.
Connections to destinations.For many people their destination is not at the end of the public transport trip but a further journey away. For this reason Bicycle Victoria supported the path link between Huntingdale and Monash that is currently under construction along North Road.We encouraged the Minister to actively develop other connections to destinations. For example there is a pipe reservation (without a path) between the Tally Ho business village on Burwood highway and the Syndal railway station. The distance is less than 3km. The offices are currently poorly served by public transport. Public transport could be provided by connecting the station and offices with a high quality path along the reservation.
We identified the importance of the rail system for excursions from trail heads such as catching the train to Lilydale in order to ride the Rail Trail.
We raised the difficulties people face in getting their bikes on regional trains as well as onto regional coaches to get out and back from regional Victoria for a bike holiday. The Great Ocean Road is a tourism venue that riders have difficulty accessing by coach for example. We pointed out that tourism facilities such as the Bairnsdale to Orbost Rail trail rely on people using the Bairnsdale train and the Orbost coach.
Steady, committed approach
We have said that we are looking for is a strong commitment to make steady progress across the issues listed above.
The next step
The Minister is continuing to consult with stakeholders and we will let you know how the issue progresses.