Connex South-East, which runs trains from London to Kent and parts of East Sussex, has said that it doesn’t want bikes on its trains and that bike parking facilities are "the lesser of two evils."
Yet at the time of its £118 000 award from the Strategic Rail Authority, Connex said that it wanted to "make the rail network more accessible to cyclists."
Tom Bogdanowicz, CTC’s public transport campaigner, said: "How can the government meet its target for increased cycle use when rail operators treat cyclists as ‘an evil’? Connex has lost one rail franchise. With its negative attitude to a large group of regular customers, it seems to want to lose another."
At last week’s Rail Stations Conference, Glen Charles, Commercial Director at Connex, said: "We don’t really like [cyclists], passengers don’t really like them, car owners don’t like them. Cycles parked [at stations] and not carried on trains is by far the lesser of two evils. It’s when they try to put [bikes] on trains that we have a real problem with our passengers."
Connex is not the only rail operator trying to slam the train-door on cyclists but other companies including Anglia Railways and Arriva Merseyside welcome bike carriage and work with cyclists to improve revenue and services.
Bogdanowicz said: "Anglia says the PR that followed its investment in cycle carriage and parking facilities was the best it had ever had. It is clear though, that some operators will only cater for cyclists when they are forced to do so. Cycling and rail travel makes a perfect partnership in other European countries so why not here?"