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Cyclists iron out the trams

Protest over ridiculous local transport authority contradiction

Published on February 11th 2010.


Cyclists iron out the trams

Love Your Bike campaigners are taking ironing boards and a range of other folding items on trams in Manchester to highlight the contradictions in the Metrolink policy that bans anyone from travelling with a folding bicycle that hasn't been put in a bag.

Confidential likes this idea. Our staff sometimes look like binmen coming off shift. An ironing board on the tram might come in handy to make them more presentable for work. A third buffet carriage would be useful too. And given the current delays on the system maybe a sleeper van.

Later in the day (Friday 12 February) Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA) committee will be meeting in Manchester Town Hall and the campaigners are hoping that the councillors will admit that folded bicycles are no more dangerous than folded prams, trolleys or ironing boards (all of which are allowed on trams), and overturn the bike ban.

Love Your Bike campaign, run by Manchester Friends of the Earth, believes that allowing people to use a bicycle at both ends of a rapid transport system journey such as on Metrolink and local train services, would provide one of the most effective means of competing with the private car for widespread accessibility and door-to-door convenience.

The Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Strategy claims to want to encourage more trips to be made by bicycle.

Katy Carlisle from Manchester Friends of the Earth said:

"When asked why they don’t use public transport people often mention the ‘problem of the last mile’. Quite literally, public transport often leaves people up to a mile away from their final destination. They don’t want to walk that far – so use the car.Creating a public transport system that encourages people to combine the flexibility of a bicycle with bus, train and tram services would help provide a sustainable solution to this problem. Many other cities in Europe and North America actively encourage these types of integrated transport systems. Manchester prides itself as a city which leads the way – it’s about time this was applied to Metrolink."

The ironing board that won the Tour de France

Confidential likes this idea. Our staff sometimes look like binmen coming off shift. An ironing board on the tram might come in handy to make them more presentable for work. A third buffet carriage would be useful too. And given the current delays on the system maybe a sleeper van.

Seriously though to ban folding bicycles (not in bags, and who has the time and energy to keep packing them away like that) is a maverick, perverse and beyond logic decision, running contrary to whole swathes of GMITA's own policies for the reasons stated by Katy Carlisle above. Indeed it makes the local transport authority begin to look like a bloody laughing stock.

PS:

After the meeting today here's some sort of success for the ironing board protest.

Councillor Richard Cowell, Manchester City Council's executive member for the environment, said: “I welcome the decision of the Integrated Transport Authority to look again at its policy on bikes on trams. It’s the common sense thing to do and means the whole issue can be examined in an informed and hopefully productive way.

“As well as setting up a working party to look at safe ways in which bikes could be taken on trams, GMITA officers are to draw up reports which will examine how this is done in other European cities and the cost implications of allowing cyclists on trams during off-peak hours.

“Crucially, they are also to consult with cycling organisations and the 10 Greater Manchester authorities. I am pleased the authority is doing this, although of course it should have been done in the first place.

“I would also like to thank Councillor Andrew Fender for his hard work which has led to the securing of these important concessions.”

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Jonathan Schofield - editorFebruary 12th 2010.

Metrolink has driver problems at present as well. On Tuesday morning this week on coming into Manchester, the driver went through a red light just before Cornbrook and emergency braked. He did this without warning. Then the driver opened his cab door and walked down the packed tram to do something of an unknown nature. There were clearly problems on the system. As he passed me by I said: "Could you for courtesy sake please let us know over the tannoy system what is happening, rather than have us waiting here?" "Yes, I will," he replied. Then he returned to the cab and completely ignored the request. I tried to catch his eye as I got off but he looked away. This is shocking behaviour that treats the passenger with contempt.

mFebruary 15th 2010.

I love the way they talk about the tram links that the new BMX track at Eastlands will have. This will be particularly useful considering you can't take your BMX on the tram. Genius.

It is a bit hypocritical that they'll use the environment as a reason to get people out of cars yet they won't let bikes on their trams. To do so off peak is fine.

You can have bike racks on buses too, you know: biketoronto.ca/…/VancouverBusBikeRack.jpg…

John HarrisFebruary 16th 2010.

Why would cyclists want to go on trams when they can have so much more fun terrorising and injuring pedestrians by hurtling along the pavement?

TomFebruary 16th 2010.

John I for one usually do me best to avoid annoying or risking injury to anyone else when I'm riding in town, but if it means that much to you that you think that's a relevant and useful comment to this story, I can make an exception in your case. Now, where did I leave my crash helmet...

AnonymousFebruary 17th 2010.

Jonathan, I had a similair experience where the tram was held at a red signal at cornbrook junction for 9 minutes the other morning. This being a rush hour tram it was completely packed and no announcement was made. In the meantime paasengers were getting adgitated and upset. Trying to ask the driver when we finally got piccadilly gardens was pointless - he just moved off.
The london underground which is oft slated for performance even has drivers which inform passengers imediatley of reasons for delay or service disruptions. It's clear that Metrolink are incapable of running trams on time or maintaining units so they don't fail at least they could do is communicate with passengers.

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