Public Transport

Ross Adams's picture

Southport Park and Ride CTC style

Visitors to Southport ditched the bus for a journey to remember, traveling into the town centre in style aboard a state of the art pedal-powered Rickshaw.
Rickshaw arriving into Southport as part of the Visit Project

The Sefton and West Lancs Visit Project working in partnership with the CTC are looking at ways to support the visitor economy through sustainable travel.

The latest event, Rickshaw rides, was designed to raise awareness of the project as a whole, whilst also providing visitors to Southport a fun and unusual way to make their way into the town or just enjoy the sights and sounds of the seaside town.


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Cycletopia includes 15 real life examples of good schemes to promote cycling
CTC's Cycletopia is made up of real life examples of what can be done to make Britain's towns and cities more cycle friendly, combined in a single image.
Victoria Hazael's picture

Cycletopia – turning cycling dreams into reality

CTC, the national cycling charity has created ‘Cycletopia’ – an imaginary town made up of 15 real life examples in the UK of the best ways to promote, protect and inspire cycling.
Cycletopia includes 15 real life examples of good schemes to promote cycling

CTC Chief Executive Gordon Seabright said: “Great Britain proved this summer we have the best cyclists in the world. Now, we need to create towns and cities that are world class for cycling. There are already great things being done right here in the UK to improve cycling; they just need to happen across all our towns and cities. Cycletopia aims to help every local authority learn from what other places are doing to increase the numbers of cyclists and reduce traffic congestion.”

Contact Information: 

CTC Press Office
Telephone: 0844-736-8453

Notes to Editors: 

An interactive map of Cycletopia can be found on CTC’s website:

High resolution and detailed images of Cycletopia are also available from CTC Press Office.

Cycletopia is drawn by the cartoonist and cyclist Peter Welleman.

CTC, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling.

We work to protect and promote cycling to create a healthier, cleaner world, now and for the future. We want the UK to be a place where it’s easy and safe for people of all ages to cycle, whatever their ability, background or income. We believe that cycling is more than just transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone.

We encourage all types of cycling, on the road or off it.  We support you if you already ride, or would like to ride, to work or school, for health, touring, sport and leisure – or just because it’s fun.

We’ve been working for cycling for over a century. Nationally and locally, we use our knowledge to influence decision makers and help people discover how cycling can change lives.

• We provide expert, practical help and advice.
• We support individuals and communities.
• We protect cyclists’ interests.
• We campaign to make cycling mainstream and to remove the things that stop people cycling.
• We help people develop the confidence and skills to cycle.
• We promote the benefits of cycling to individuals, to society and to the economy.

CTC is an independent charity, and relies on 69,000 members, volunteers, grant funders and partners for support. Without them, we would not be able to do our vital work in communities inspiring hundreds of thousands of people across the UK to cycle.


Chris Peck's picture

New rolling stock to replace High Speed Train fleet announced - with potential for good cycle carriage

26 July 2012
New trains - at a cost of £4.5bn - to work longer distance routes have been approved by the Department for Transport. These will replace trains which have reasonable space for cycles. Ensuring that the replacement trains have equivalent space is vital.
Screenshot from Hitachi's mock up of the internal design of the new trains

The current fleet of 'High Speed Trains' operate on the East Coast main line between London and the north of Scotland, the longer distance London-East Anglia routes and the Great Western routes. They came into service almost 40 years ago and work on developing a replacement started several years ago.


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Chris Peck's picture

South West Trains reverses bike ban after only 36 hours

10 July 2012
CTC is relieved to hear that South West Trains has reversed a proposed ban on all non-folding bikes, just 36 hours after implementing it. However, Southern and Southeastern still have widespread restrictions in place.
Brompton on a railway platform

On 10 July a statement appeared on the South West Trains website suggesting that all non-folding bikes would be banned throughout the Olympics and Paralympics. CTC understood that operational staff had no idea that the ban was coming until that morning. 

After enquiries to South West Trains press office on 11 July CTC received the following statement:


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Chris Peck's picture

Train companies ban cycles during Olympics

Train operating companies banned cycles from many trains during the Olympic Games period, with the worst closures affecting the cycling road races on the 28/29 July. After few observed problems the bans were lifted in time for the Paralympics.
Bans on bikes were proposed for much of the network

The news was confirmed in changes to the Association of Train Operating Companies leaflet on cycling and rail, which was circulated to cycling organisations just two months before the Games began. Southern and Southeastern imposed the worst restrictions, bicycles were not permitted on any trains going to or from London beyond a certain point.


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Cherry Allan's picture

Cycling and rail

Combining rail and cycle travel is a good alternative to driving for longer journeys, but it needs to be properly catered for...
Cyclepoint at Leeds railway station
Headline Messages: 

Who benefits from combining cycling with rail travel?

  • Individuals: it provides a door-to-door alternative to driving for longer-distance journeys.
  • Commuters: can cut total daily journey time by up to one hour by cycling to and from the station, avoiding congestion and additional bus or inner-city rail journeys.
  • Holiday makers and day visitors: cycle holidays/tours in the UK are growing in popularity, and travelling somewhere different for a cycle ride is an attractive option for a day out.
  • Rail operators: it increases customers' ability to access rail services, with 60% of people living less than a 15 minute cycle ride from a station. It is also a lot less costly to provide cycle parking than space for cars.
  • Local economies: the increased cachment area helps keep branch line services running, further reducing the need for car journeys.
  • Public policy: it encourages more peole to take up cycling and lowers car travel, supporting a wide range of health, transport, social and environmental objectives.


Better Rail Stations report

Good news for cycle parking and other facilities at railway stations

In November 2009, Chris Green and Sir Peter Hall reported their findings on the state of England's rail stations to the then Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Adonis.

The Better Rail Stations report didn't make for pretty reading, but at least the ten worst stations received £50 million in funding to retrofit improvements. This came in addition to £14 million for cycle parking and ten 'Cycle Hubs' (offering cycle hire, repair services and secure parking) with the first appearing in Leeds as Cyclepoint - now up and running.

The report recommended that in future 'Cycle Hubs' be installed at all Cycle hub at Leiden, Netherlands91 of the biggest UK railway stations. An example of a good 'Cycle Hub' is this image (right) of the secure storage and repair centre at Leiden in the Netherlands.

Another of the recommendations gave minimum standards for cycle parking at railway stations at 5% of the daily passenger level. This was a welcome and sensible suggestion, but many stations still fall well below this level - with only a few major stations (Oxford and Cambridge) meeting it. Yet cycling levels in Oxford and Cambridge are much higher than the average and cycle parking at these stations is under extreme pressure. We suggest that in locations with high cycling, stations need to cater to the potential demand rather than limit parking levels to the 5% standard.


Taking a cycle on a train

National Rail Enquiries supplies advice on taking your cycle with you on a train, plus information about each operator's cycle policy, i.e. restrictions, reservations etc. Look up the train company, then click on 'onboard facilities'.


Level crossings

When it comes to level crossings, cyclists need to be assured of at least two things: that they will get across safely; and that convenient crossing points are kept open or created. More on our level crossings page.


CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 

While there have been significant advances over the last few years as far as secure cycle parking at some stations is concerned (see Headline Messages above), combining rail and cycle travel could be made much easier in several ways. For instance, it should be made as easy as possible to:

  • cycle safely to and from rail stations,
  • wheel a cycle over bridges or through subways
  • store a cycle securely and conveniently at all stations
  • hire a cycle from a station, wherever practicable
  • find information about taking a cycle with you on a train
  • reserve a cycle space on a train, if required
  • and, importantly, to take it on the train itself.

For more on our views on cycle carriage, see 'Taking cycles by train'.

Publication Date: 
March 2012
Cherry Allan's picture

Taking cycles on trains

There are many reasons for taking a cycle on the train. It might make a longer, non-driving door-to-door journey easier; help with travel to work, to a meeting, for a cycling holiday, or simply a day’s visit to a trail.
Headline Messages: 
  • In the UK, evidence suggests that the demand for cycle carriage on trains is around 4% of total seating capacity – a demand that is likely to grow as more and more people take up cycling. Theoretically, existing rolling stock is capable of meeting this demand while ideally, new (or newly refurbished trains) should be designed to provide for even more cycles.
  • ‘Dedicated’ cycle spaces (i.e. space allocated specifically for cycles) are the best solution for cycle carriage, and some dedicated cycle space should be available on all trains.
  • 'Flexible' space is less attractive (e.g. spaces that also provides tip-up seating) because it can be inconvenient and irritating for cycle users and other passengers alike. Nevertheless, it can provide a useful, additional cycle storage space.
  • Being able to travel with tandems, tricycles and other cycles of non-standard dimensions makes an important contribution to the mobility of people with disabilities, especially for long(er) journeys. For some users, these machines are in fact mobility aids, helping them travel independently and more comfortably.


National Rail Enquiries supplies advice on taking your cycle with you on a train, plus information about each operator's cycle policy, i.e. restrictions, reservations etc. Look up the train company, then click on 'onboard facilities'.


CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 

We are currently revising and updating our views on cycle/rail and these will be published in due course. In the meantime, these are extracts from CTC's current Policy Handbook (March 2004):


  • Government should take a lead in implementing its commitments for cycle carriage by rail. They should further direct all related agencies (Health and Safety Exectutive, Transec, the Office of the Rail Regulator) to align their policies to facilitate cycle carriage on all rail services.
  • Existing levels of cycle carriage provision should not be reduced or diminished when rolling stock is refurbished or replaced.
  • Targets for minimum cycle carriage standards should be set at two levels:
  • The 'first level' targets should specify what should be achieved in the short-term with existing rolling stock;
  • the 'second level' targets should determine what should be provided when rolling stock is refurbished or new rolling stock commissioned.

The “first level” should be to provide a minimum of 4 cycle spaces for the first 100 seats in any train formation, plus an additional cycle space for each complete or partial multiple of 30 seats thereafter.

The “second level” target should be to provide a minimum of 6 cycle spaces for the first 100 seats in any train formation, plus an additional cycle space for each complete or partial multiple of 24 seats thereafter.

At least 50% of the cycle spaces required to meet these targets should be 'dedicated' cycle provision, the remainder may be “dedicated” or “flexible” provision, but they should not be in locations where they obstruct passenger circulation.

  • In accordance with disabled access requirements and the Government’s social inclusion objectives, it should be possible to carry at least one tandem or tricycle or trailer on any train, and at least one of the required cycle spaces per train formation should be designed to meet this requirement. Access to this storage should conform to the same dimensions as for electric wheelchairs, as virtually all cycles will fit within the same spatial envelope.
  • Cycle spaces and securing arrangements should be designed and laid out so that they are easy and convenient to use.
  • Cycle stowage areas on trains should be clearly labelled on both the outside and inside of the train. Information should also be available to cyclists advising them where to wait on the platform.
  • Cycle carriage on trains should be free of charge and available without requirement to reserve in advance. There should be opportunities to reserve cycle spaces on all services where seat reservation systems are available, or on services whose train fleets do not meet the targets above; in such cases, the reservation charge should generally be free and certainly no more than a seat reservation for the same train.
  • CTC recognises that it may also be necessary to levy an appropriate reservation charge to limit demand on specific services where passenger demand regularly exceeds capacity. In such cases, cycle reservation charges should be aligned with cycle hire and/or parking charges at stations on the route served.
  • Rail-substitute bus services and re-routed train services should permit the same number of cycles to be carried as the carrying capacity of the train service they replace.
  • Rail routes in deep level tube tunnels should be made available for cycle carrying trains with trains and infrastructure embracing appropriate measures to satisfy special safety requirements, as these routes often provide unique opportunities to travel under natural barriers such as rivers.


Publication Date: 
March 2012
Cherry Allan's picture

Buses and coaches

Being able to take a cycle with you on buses or coaches is important for both leisure and everyday transport journeys. In rural areas, the facility is particularly useful and can help boost passenger numbers.
Bike on bus
Headline Messages: 

Over 90% of UK households are within ten minutes’ walk of a bus stop, and cycling puts even more people within reasonable reach. This is much better coverage than rail – only 19% of UK households are within a 10 minute walk of a station. Making it easy to combine a cycle with a bus journey, therefore, makes using the services a much more feasible option.

A surprising number of services, in fact, now allow people to take their cycles with them, although it is usually at the driver's discretion.

Cycles can be carried on buses/coaches in five ways:

  1. Inside the bus itself either in a separate compartment or in areas of 'shared' space
  2. In the luggage hold (boot)
  3. On the exterior of a bus on a rear-mounted cycle rack
  4. In a trailer fitted with cycle racks and towed behind a bus or coach.

Folding bikes

Several bus operators allow compact folding bikes (or packed down bikes) as hand luggage and CTC has approached major bus groups to persuade them to get this adopted as common basic practice, at least where the space is available. Some companies ask for the bike to be enclosed in a bag.

Parking at bus stops

For people who don't want to take their cycle with them on the bus service, they'll be much more likely to ride to the bus stop/station if they know that they can take advantage of secure cycle parking.


Many Express coach services carry bikes packed down into a suitable bag or box. The National Express Conditions of Carriage (Clause 7.1) state that a folded down or dismantled bike in a purpose-made bag or case may be carried with you, and generally CTC has established with other operators that they will work to similar conditions.

The potential carrying capacity of some coaches is significant - we know, for example, that at least 35 bicycles have been fitted onto a commuter coach chartered to take a group to and from a cycling event. Some high floor tour coaches may be able to take even more.

A good example of a coach service that is popular with cyclists is the Oxford Tube - many London commuters take a cycle with them.

Road safety - bus drivers and cyclists

It's important that bus drivers and cyclists interact as harmoniously as possible, particularly in busy urban areas where road-space is limited. A good way of doing this is to make sure that both road users understand each other's needs and adopt the sort of behaviour that avoids conflict.

Courses for bus drivers and on-road training for cyclists are amongst the best ways of promoting a good relationship. Leaflets, aimed at both drivers and cyclists, with straightforward, practical advice are also very helpful -  good example comes from Warrington.


CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 

 There are few, if any, technical or legal barriers to carrying cycles by bus and coach.

  • Cycle carriage can bring new revenue to bus and coach operators.
  • For cyclists to contribute to the viability of services, operators need to advertise that they welcome passengers with cycles, and should clearly indicate this in their Conditions of Carriage.
  • CTC is keen to promote the services of those operators who provide cycle carriage facilities.
  • Cycle carriage facilities can contribute to sustainable countryside access and social inclusion objectives.
  • 'Through' ticketing for passengers and cycles between different operators and between bus and train should be available.
  • Overseas experience suggests that there is potential for many more companies to carry cycles. Over 50% of the USA bus fleet carries cycles on front-mounted bike racks.*

*Note: The very different operating conditions and the laws relating to vehicle safety makes the use of some US bike racks both illegal and dangerous in the UK, but alternative options are working.

Publication Date: 
March 2012
Andy Hawes's picture

Bikes on planes

Taking your bicycle on a plane is something more and more of us have started to do. Here we provide a few useful steps to follow:
  • Read and print out a copy of your chosen airline's policy on the carriage of cycles (this is normally under 'sporting equipment' on the airline's website).
  • Note their packaging requirements - all airlines now insist on bicycles being packaged for transit. Bags specifically for bikes are available from various retailers.
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