Dublin City Council, a Dublin MEP and campaigners have all asked An Bord Pleanála to make the carriage of bicycles a condition of the planning permission for MetroLink, but the National Transport Authority and Transport Infrastructure Ireland are standing firm in their view that this is a policy and not a planning issue.
The National Transport Authority’s stance on the carriage of bicycles on the planned railway between Dublin City and Swords follows a similar intervention by the authority blocking a cycle route which was being designed alongside the planned Luas extension to Finglas. As IrishCycle.com reported last year, the NTA diktat to remove the cycle route from the tram extension project against the Transport Infrastructure Ireland project team, the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, local politicians and members of the public.
The carriage of bicycles on metro lines, at least off-peak, is the norm in the vast majority of cities across Europe and North America. Dublin City Council has said that it should be a planning condition of the MetroLink railway order.
A Dublin MEP, Ciarán Cuffe, and campaigners at both the Dublin Commuter Coalition and the Dublin Cycling Campaign also asked for bicycles to be allowed on board metro trains.
IrishCycle.com could confirm 31 cities where their transport agency allowed bicycles on board metro systems or lines, while there were less than a handful of examples which this website could confirm that ban bicycles on board at all times.
For example, as the images above and below show, full-sized bicycles are allowed on the Copenhagen Metro. As with most systems, bicycles are allowed on board except at peak times. Dublin’s planned MetroLink is moded partly on the automated Copenhagen Metro.
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Bicycles are also allowed on metro systems from Berlin to Boston and beyond including in Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Brussels, New York, Prague, Chicago, Helsinki, Washington DC, Frankfurt, Toronto, Athens, Ontario, Hamburg, Munich, Milan, Rome, Rotterdam, Oslo, Warsaw, Lisbon, Bucharest, Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Valencia, and Istanbul. Most of these only include peak time restrictions, only a minority allow bicycles at all times.
The London Underground even allows bicycles, except in peak in peak direction of travel and with some restrictions for older stations. Montreal transport authority says a “pilot project continues to allow bikes more often in the métro”, while a similar trial allowed bicycles permanently on the Docklands Light Rail in London. Bicycles are also even allowed on the large-tram-like Porto Metro.
With MetroLink, the Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) project team has tried to defer the decision to after the planning process.
In recently published responses to the public consultation on MetroLink, TII said: “MetroLink Station and Rolling Stock is designed to accommodate bicycle and e-mobility devices. A decision as to whether in practice such devices will be allowed on to carriages is subject to the establishment of an appropriate policy in this regard. TII are aware of the advantages and disadvantages associated with allowing such devices on public transport and careful consideration is required before a policy is established, adopted and implemented.”
In other responses, TII referred to it being a “city wide” policy issue to be decided “by the Department of Transport and the National Transport Authority”.
It said: “MetroLink will be designed to accommodate folding/commuter type bikes and micro mobility devices, however access to the MetroLink system for these devises will be dependent on a the establishment of a coherent city wide public transport policy regarding their use on public transports systems by the Department of Transport and the National Transport Authority.”