Cycling initiatives prioritised at conference
Delegates from leading cycling organisations have been given the chance to discuss ways to improve integration with the Tyne and Wear Metro at the rail system’s annual stakeholder conference.
The conference was a chance for senior managers at Nexus, which owns and manages Metro, and DB Regio, which operates stations and trains on its behalf, to discuss with cycling groups their plans to improve facilities in an around the system.
On the agenda were issues such as secure storage racks at Metro stations, improving routes to and from stations, and providing more bike hire services.
The conference will help inform a major bid for Government support through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
Richard McClean, Managing Director of Metro Operator DB Regio addressed the conference and highlighted that there is room for more integration: “It is important for all modes of transport to work together and in order for that to happen we need to look at ways in which we can better integrate cycling with the Metro network.
“It is crucial that Metro understands the needs of cyclists and the average public transport user in order to make a conscious effort to improve the overall service. Currently, we don’t have all of the relevant knowledge, which drives us to hold conferences such as this where we can engage with the leaders of the different transport groups in our efforts to better integrated travel in the region.”
Cycling has remained a topical discussion point for users of Metro as currently bikes are only permitted on trains if they have the ability to fold. “Folding bikes are allowed on Metro trains as they can be reduced in size by around a third,” continued McClean. “There are various issues associated with allowing non-folding bikes on the network, from security issues to health and safety but we are doing our best to improve how cycling can be more aligned with the Metro service.”
Tobyn Hughes, Customer Services Director at Nexus, said: “I would like to see all bikes permitted on trains but Metro is the busiest light rail system outside London, with deep underground stations and quite short trains, which make this impossible at the moment.
“This conference shows we can work together with cycle organisations to improve the whole journey, right across Tyne and Wear, by identifying where road routes could be improved, what storage racks cyclists want to use, and how hire schemes should be set up and run.”
“The whole event proved very positive. Delegates understand the limitations but also the possibilities to work together as Tyne and Wear bids for Local Sustainable Transport Fund support.”
The Local Sustainable Transport Fund bid for up to £50 million to support transport schemes is being led by the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority on behalf of local authorities in Tyne and Wear and Nexus.
For regular updates on Tyne and Wear Metro follow @My_Metro on Twitter, search ‘Tyne and Wear Metro’ on Facebook or go to www.nexus.org.uk/metro