Nexus, the public body which owns and manages the Tyne and Wear Metro, is expanding a trial which allows customers to travel with bikes on board Metro trains.
From today, Monday 29 January, bikes will be allowed on trains between Jesmond to Callerton Parkway, at the following times: 10am-3pm weekdays (as at present); 7pm until end of service weekdays, and all day Saturday and Sunday. Only one bike is permitted per carriage, or two per train in total.
Today’s announcement means people can take bikes on trains within the trial area in the evening for the first time, as well as all day at weekends.
If this is successful the trial will be extended to further parts of the Metro later this year, although there are no plans to allow standard bikes to be carried at peak times.
Folding bikes can already be carried on all parts of the Metro system, when folded.
Tobyn Hughes, Managing Director of Nexus, said: “We have been running a limited trial to see if bikes can be accommodated on Metro outside peak hours without causing problems for other passengers, delays to trains or safety issues.
“The trial has been a success up to now, so we are expanding it in stages – first the times and days when people can take a bike with them on Metro, and then to further parts of the system.
“The trial allows us to learn the potential and limitations associated with allowing bikes on trains before the new fleet design is finalised and new Metro trains come into service.
“The decision to go with longitudinal seating on our new trains provides a more accessible and flexible internal space which has potential for bikes, but we haven’t made any decisions about this and we will evaluate the trial and consult with passengers before we do.
“We want to support cyclists as much as we can here in Tyne and Wear, and Nexus has already invested to make sure there is secure cycle storage at or near every station.”
North East Combined Authority member and Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council, Councillor Joyce McCarty, said: “I really welcome the expansion of the cycle trial on Metro. The trial has been a huge success and Nexus are now taking the next step in their provision for cyclists. I want our town and city centres to be as cycle friendly as possible, as it contributes to healthier lifestyles and improved air quality.
“The trial on the current Metro fleet has been vital work as Nexus looks to see what extra space for bikes can be incorporated into the new trains.”
Nexus began the Metro cycling trial in 2016 to establish whether it is possible to allow bikes on Metro without causing inconvenience to other passengers, or operational or safety issues.
For the last 18 months Metro customers have been able to take bikes on Metro services between Callerton Parkway and Jesmond, from Monday and Friday, 10am until 3pm.
There is no additional charge for taking bikes on Metro but they must be kept in the designated storage area near the perch seat. Customers must remain with their bike at all times.
Priority must still be given to wheelchair users and customers with prams, with cyclists asked to get off the train is necessary to make way.
Nexus has invested more to improve integration between cycling and Metro in the last few years with new cycle storage at or close to all stations and new smartcard-operated cycle lockers at nine key stations around the system.
Nexus worked with cycle organisations to install the right cycle storage and set up a special task group with users to explore the potential to allow non-folding bikes to be carried on trains. This identified scope for a limited trial to be run once the fleet refurbishment of the train fleet was completed in late 2015.
For further details on the trial and on cycle parking, which is available at most stations, visit www.nexus.org.uk/cycle