Ban shows there’s a lack of joined-up thinking

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Whatever happened to joined-up thinking when it comes to encouraging people to take a greener approach to getting around?

The government wants us to think about alternatives to the car, but the likes of South West Trains don’t exactly make it attractive to get out from behind the wheel.

The company has decided to ban non-folding bicycles on all its routes from July 27 to August 12 for the Olympic Games, as well as August 29 to September 9 for the Paralympics.

Restrictions already exist on peak hour journeys into and out of London, but this will be a ban on all routes. And Southern is also bringing in a similar ban on all its routes heading to and from London and Brighton between July 27 and September 9.

If you happen to have a bike that folds up, then you’re fine. But what about the vast majority who have conventional bikes?

This was supposed to be the environmentally-aware Olympics, with people being encouraged to use pedal power to get to the Games to cut down on emissions and traffic, but also to promote an active lifestyle. Well, they forgot to tell the train companies.

From a business point of view, it also seems absurd that South West Trains and Southern should seek to cut down on their passenger numbers at the very time more people will want to use trains to get to and from the capital.

Presumably the argument goes that compartments will be so full of people there will be no room for bikes. But if bikes are banned, anybody needing to use one is automatically barred from travelling by train.

And what about those poor people who use trains to get to work during the Olympics and Paralympics? They’ve been happily taking a bike on board every day, but now all of a sudden they can no longer do so.

Then there are those who have bought tickets to the Games on the presumption they would be allowed to take bikes on trains.

We urge the train companies to reconsider. If certain trains have to become bike-free, then so be it. But be selective rather than just impose a blanket ban.