Bicycles to be permitted on Dart and commuter trains in off-peak hours

Wed, Jan 5, 2011, 00:00

CYCLISTS ARE to be allowed to bring their bicycles on board Dart and commuter trains at off-peak times, Iarnród Éireann has announced. However, the facility will not be available on Luas trams in Dublin.

It will be the first time that bicycles will be permitted on Dart service and commuter trains in Dublin and Cork free of charge during the middle of the day and at weekends The times are between 10am and 3.30pm, and after 7pm, from Monday to Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday. However, times of major fixtures, concerts and other events at Lansdowne Road and Croke Park are excluded from the initiative.

Iarnród Éireann has also announced that cyclists may book bicycle spaces online for its Intercity services for €6 per journey.

Minister of State for Sustainable Transport Ciarán Cuffe and Anthony Moran of Cycling Ireland launched the initiative at Connolly Station in Dublin yesterday.

Mr Cuffe said the Government’s national cycling policy put significant emphasis on integrating cycling and rail travel as sustainable modes of transport.

Cycling Ireland said the initiative would allow people to consider cycling as an alternative means of transport over longer distances by using a train service for part of their journey.

Iarnród Éireann said it hoped the initiative would promote more use of its services by cyclists.

The company has undertaken an audit of bicycle parking facilities at its 142 stations around the country. It said this would allow improvements in facilities to be targeted at areas underserved at present, and an improvement in the accessibility of stations for cyclists. The Dublin Cycling Campaign said its members were delighted at the new policy. “We desperately need to get more eco-tourists to come to Ireland and this will undoubtedly help.”

Mr Cuffe said he intended to raise the issue of bicycle access on Luas trams once again with the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA), which is responsible for the service. He said the first time he broached the issue, the agency said it was unable to relax its current ban because of high levels of foot passenger use throughout the day.

Mr Cuffe described this stance as conservative and said he would still like to see cyclists able to use the Luas at off-peak times.

An RPA spokesman said it had looked at the issue in the light of the Government’s policy on sustainable transport but had decided it wasn’t safe to allow bicycles on Luas trams.

“Luas trams are smaller than Dart carriages so bikes could be in everyone’s way. It would also mean less space for wheelchair users and would be difficult to police,” the spokesman said.

He said the RPA would probably re-examine the issue and pointed out that folding bicycles are allowed on the Luas.

In Barcelona, where trams similar to the Luas are in operation, bicycles are permitted on board, while in Toronto, storage for bicycles is provided in front of the trams.