Luas should follow in Edinburgh’s footsteps and at least trial carrying bicycles on off-peak trams, the Dublin Cycling Campaign has said.
Edinburgh Trams announced last week that they are to allow bicycles on board trams off-peak permanently after a successful two-month trial found no issue with passenger safety.
Keith Byrne, chairman of the Dublin Cycling Campaign said: “I understand that the Luas is full to capacity at peak times, but off peak would make perfect sense similar to the Dart.”
Speaking about the Edinburgh Trams trial, Michael Powell, safety, quality and environment manager at Edinburgh Trams, said: “After considering passenger feedback and the number of cyclists using the trams every day we agreed that there was little to no impact on daily operations and so we are happy to welcome bikes on board. Although the numbers are currently quite small we expect that more people may use their bikes in future, so we are keeping the hours and conditions that applied during the trial, to make sure we continue to look after the safety and comfort of all passengers.”
Lesley Hinds, chair of Transport for Edinburgh said: “Edinburgh Trams is the first UK tram operator to allow bikes on board and I am delighted that we leading the way to ensure that Edinburgh’s system is truly integrated with all types of transport methods. The tram route connects to several cycle paths leading around the city and this will hopefully encourage more people into public transport.”
Edinburgh Trams are now allowing bicycles on board seven days a week, except on weekday peak travel hours (0730 – 0930 and 1600-1830) and during the Edinburgh Festival (7–31 August) or during other pre-publicised special events when trams are expected to be busy.
The Edinburgh Trams website states: “Passengers with disabilities, or those with prams or buggies, will take priority over bicycles. Tram staff will have the discretion to decline bicycles if services are busy. Only two bicycles can be carried per tram. Cyclists should stand at the centre section, marked on the platform by a disabled logo tile, and take guidance from staff. Cyclists remain with their bicycles at all times.”
While Edinburgh is the first city in the UK to allow bicycles on trams, it is more common in Europe, where a number of modern Luas-like tram systems allow bicycles off-peak without any special racks or cages.
Exact details on trams which carry bicycles is thin even on the internet, but about Keolis — the operator of Bordeaux’s trams which are the same make and class as Luas — recently confirmed to this website that bicycles are allowed on trams in Bordeaux. A company spokesman said: “Bicycles are allowed on-boards trams but: You can not if there is not too many passengers inside and not between 7am to 9am and between 4pm and 7.30pm.”
The Irish National Cycle Policy, which is adopted policy of the current and last government, states: “We will provide for the carriage of bikes on Luas when services are of a frequency and at a capacity that allows for it. i.e. when it is considered possible to carry bikes on carriages when they do not interfere with the capacity for pedestrians.”
The policy outlines how Dublin Bus should trial carrying bicycles on front-mounted racks, as used in cities across North America and some other countries. But, in the case of Luas, the commitment to carry bicycles outside peak or other busy times is clearer and it is not just a commitment to a trial.
However, after the national policy was introduced, the Railway Procurement Agency moved from an informal ban to an outright formal one written into its bylaws. The agency, which looks after Luas policy matters on contract for the National Transport Authority, first cited safety concerns and then expanded this position to passenger comfort.
The Railway Procurement Agency (which is in the process of being merged with the National Roads Authority to form Transport Infrastructure Ireland) manages the constructions and outsourcing of the operation of the Luas tram system. However, it does so on behalf of the National Transport Authority, which is ultimately responsible for Luas policy.