New government funding to the tune of £15 million is being put into cycle-rail, Transport Minister Baroness Kramer announced today.
Timed to coincide with Le Tour coming to the UK, the cash will be used for cycle facilities, including parking. The Cycle Rail Working Group will decide how the money will be spent.
Baroness Kramer made the announcement while opening the new £850,000 Sheffield Cycle Hub (though we’re not sure who paid for that).
Cycle rail journeys have been a runaway success in recent years, rocketing from 14 million in 2009 to an all time high of 39 million a year.
“While £15m for cycle-rail is welcome, to change the tens of thousands of miles of the road network that are unfit for cycling will require a far greater scale of investment," said Chris Peck, CTC’s campaigns and policy coordinator.
In a statement, the CTC added: "The government announcement suggests that "the funding… comes on top of the government’s existing £374 million in cycling." However, that funding – nearly all of which runs out in April 2015 – falls far short of the £10-20 per head, per year which the Get Britain Cycling report said was necessary to secure substantial increases in cycling of 10 per cent of trips by 2025, up from the current 2% of trips.
"It remains to be seen whether the forthcoming Cycling Delivery Plan – announced in August last year – will set out how this challenging funding can be secured. The strides made on cycle rail are themselves testament to the need for long-term, sustained funding for cycling projects. While £15m for cycle-rail is welcome, to change the tens of thousands of miles of the road network that are unfit for cycling will require a far greater scale of investment."
Baroness Kramer said: "When people take rail journeys they need to know how they will get to and from the station.
"We are transforming cycling facilities at stations up and down the country to make it easier to choose the bike for the journey to the station. That is why we are providing £15 million of new funding to help deliver this vision.
"Used together, bike and rail can help cut carbon and congestion, delivering environmental and economic benefits. Sheffield’s cycle hub is a great example of this principle in action, and I hope it provides an example for others to follow."
Chair of the Cycle Rail Working Group Philip Darnton added: "It is great to receive such welcome news from the government at the opening of such a great facility. This further investment will allow the Cycle Rail Working Group, to do much more. We will have already created nearly 70,000 cycle parking spaces by the end of 2015 and see more than 30 cycle hubs opened. This new investment of £15 million will allow the Cycle Rail Working Group to extend its programme beyond the existing 350 stations already seeing cycle improvements."
Sustrans NCN Development Manager and member of the Cycle Rail Working Group, Martyn Brunt, also commented: “Although nearly half the population owns a bike and 60% live within a 15 minute ride of a station, only 2% of passengers use their bike to access the rail network.
“Yet for most people, the time spent on a train counts for as little as 30% of their overall journey time, so many people are still forced to rely on their car to get around even when choosing public transport.
“Investment that helps people to travel from door to door without needing to drive will significantly reduce local congestion and improve air quality and public health – linking cycling and rail travel is a simple step that can deliver huge improvements for local communities.”