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METRO bosses have rejected calls from cycle campaigners for a pilot project that could pave the way for taking bikes on trains.

Network operator Nexus said now is “not the right time” to allow cycles on busy train services and through deep underground stations.But the firm said they would work with activists to improve life for cyclists with measures which could include a “Boris Bike” type system with bikes for hire at stations.Folding bikes are allowed on the Metro but the ban on fixed-wheelers has for decades been a big bugbear to the cycling community.

It was a hot topic when members of the Newcastle Cycling Campaign met train managers last November.Claire Prospert, from the campaign, said allowing bikes would show the region’s desire to go green.She said: “We want to see a trial outside peak hours, involving a small number of Metro stations.

We know that the Metro’s operator DB Regio runs light rail systems in Germany that carry bikes.”The group claims a trial of bikes on Metro trains is supported by local councillors, Friends of the Earth, and the Tyne and Wear Public Transport Users Group.

But Huw Lewis, head of communications at Nexus which owns and manages Metro, said the priority right now was to better connect cyclists with stations.

“Cyclists are free to travel on Metro with folded bikes, and while there are good reasons why full-size bikes are not allowed on what is a very busy train system with deep underground stations, that’s not the end of the story,” he said.“We are about to trial new larger and more secure storage at two stations, while bidding in partnership with local councils and Sustrans for Government funding to pay for a much wider improvement of facilities.”He said a task group, including organisations such as the Newcastle Cycling Campaign, had been set up.“I don’t think a limited trial allowing all bikes on part of Metro at certain times of day is a good idea right now, but it may come out of the work of the group,” Mr Lewis added.“The last research we did with passengers showed a clear majority against the idea.”

via Metro bosses reject call to allow bikes on trains – Chronicle News – News – ChronicleLive.

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