Proposed reductions in bike space on trains work against a joined-up vision for cycling in Scotland.
Under the latest proposals, cyclists with bikes on long-distance trains on any other than the first and last station on the route will find spaces halved from four to two.
Abellio, the franchise holder, had previously indicated that trains would be able to carry 20 bikes. So whilst demand for bike space on trains has been acknowledged, this latest proposal goes against this.
Sustrans Scotland helps more people choose to walk and cycle. Ensuring there are more spaces for bikes on trains, not less, is key to encouraging passengers to use trains as a way of travelling actively and sustainably over longer journeys without having to rely on a car.
Whilst bike parking at stations has improved tremendously over the past few years, many commuters not only want to cycle to the station to catch a train, but are keen to get on their bike again at their destination. And long distance trains also have a valuable role to play in cycle tourism, which we recently valued at up to £345 million to the Scottish economy.
Scotland has a shared ambition for 10% of journeys to be made by bike by 2020, and this is a step in the wrong direction. The opportunity to carry a bike on public transport is key to ensuring sustainable travel is a viable option for travellers for their everyday journeys.
It is vital that train operators think more about how their service and facilities can help to achieve the government’s vision for increased cycling across the country.
Find out more about our bikes on train policy
Read our tips on combining rail and cycling for your journey