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Gloucestershire man not allowed on empty bus because his Brompton wasn't in a bag

Bus company policy has been to allow folding bikes where they do not pose a problem for other passengers

A Stroud man had to pay for a taxi last weekend after a bus driver told him he wasn’t allowed on his empty bus with his folding bike because it wasn’t in a bag.

Wiltsglosstandard.co.uk reports that Paul Dyer, from Rodborough, often breaks up longer cycle journeys by taking his Brompton bike with him on the bus.

On Sunday, on his way to Cheltenham to visit a friend in hospital, he was told by a Stagecoach driver that he wasn’t allowed to bring the folded bike aboard the bus because it was not in a bag.

"There was only one other person on the bus," said Dyer.

The newspaper reports that the bus company has previously been involved in a similar incident with Graham Stanley from accessible transport organisation, Ring and Ride.

The firm subsequently amended its policy so that fold-up bikes are allowed on its routes, so long as they do not cause an issue for other passengers.

"I believe that the bus driver in this instance was not following usual procedure adopted by drivers to allow the fold-up bike, but seemed to have followed to the letter a Stagecoach requirement that the bike needs to be transported in a bag," said Dyer, who wrote to complain.

"Stagecoach replied sending me a section of their policy document which stated full-size bikes are only allowed on very few routes. Obviously, this does not relate to fold-away bikes which fold up to a third of their extended size."

Dyer is currently awaiting a reply. "I just want to help clear the way for others," he said.

In 2011, a man suffering from cerebral palsy was prevented from getting on a Stagecoach bus in Cambridge because the folding bike he uses to get around was not in a bag. Paul Norman had taken the bus into Cambridge from Bury St Edmunds carrying his bicycle, but when he came to make the return journey he was told he would not be permitted to board with the bicycle out of a bag.

Stagecoach East subsequently apologised to Norman, saying that while it was a requirement that folding bikes be put in a carrying case, common sense should have been exercised by its staff.

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14 comments

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KarlM77 | 4 years ago
1 like

I had a recent Twitter discussion with Metrolink Manchester (trams) on the same subject ... Their fallback was to constantly hold up their Bye-Laws as some sort of 10 Commandment tablets that are unchangeable.

So I looked at their Bye-Laws, which make no mention of folding bikes. It does mention that gramophones are not allowed though.

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kwyken | 4 years ago
0 likes

Maybe worth carrying a large binbag 'in-case-of jobsworth'

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FluffyKittenofT... | 4 years ago
1 like

The point about chain oil does make a bit of sense.

 

Have occasionally gone on over-ambitious bike rides, decided I can't face riding all the way back again, gone to get a train, found there's a 'replacement bus service', which, of course, you can't take a bike on.  But I feel it's probably for the best becuase it gave me the incentive to cycle home instead - and thus avoiding the guilt of having wimped out.

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brooksby | 4 years ago
1 like

I sometimes get the bus to work.  And many times when I've gone home, there's been the same bloke with a folded Brompton.  Not in a bag or anything, just a naked Brompton.

(And that's on a First Group bus!  IIRC, First are thought to make Stagecoach seem like paragons of social virtue...).

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Riverwave | 4 years ago
1 like

Had similar thing trying to board the CalMac car ferry from Brodick to Ardrossan. Stroppy staff member tried to insist I go round to the stern doors and board through the vehicle deck. I’ve reported the folly and am hoping CalMac will change their ‘all bikes must travel in the car deck’ to a more nuanced one that acknowledges the existence of folding bikes. 

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David9694 | 4 years ago
1 like

Rodborough, Stroud - those well-known Wiltshire locations. 

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Mungecrundle | 4 years ago
1 like

It's probably to do with a perception that oil from chains has the potential to get onto the bus furnishings and from there onto passenger's clothing. Wheelchairs and buggies don't generally have the same issue*. It doesn't seem entirely unreasonable to ask that bikes are bagged.

In US cities that I have visited, local buses have external racks for bicycles.

*Dogshit on wheels maybe.

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alchemilla | 4 years ago
6 likes

Why's it got to be in a bag anyway?  Surely folded up is sufficient. Do they demand folded-up pushchairs be put in a bag, or wheelchairs?  Who makes these nonsense rules?

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JF69 replied to alchemilla | 4 years ago
3 likes

alchemilla wrote:

Why's it got to be in a bag anyway?  Surely folded up is sufficient. Do they demand folded-up pushchairs be put in a bag, or wheelchairs?  Who makes these nonsense rules?

THIS ^^

Well said.

 

That’s the point, as well as the hypocrisy, when it comes to dealing with cyclists or cycling. 

 

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Xenophon2 replied to alchemilla | 4 years ago
2 likes

alchemilla wrote:

Why's it got to be in a bag anyway?  Surely folded up is sufficient. Do they demand folded-up pushchairs be put in a bag, or wheelchairs?  Who makes these nonsense rules?

 

  It may be a stupid rule but there it is.  To some extent I can understand the reasoning that they don't want dirty chains to contact other people or their luggage/train upholstery (not totally excluded even with a folded Brompton). I once had to race around Paris gare du Nord for a bin bag to 'pack' my Brompton.  In France it needs to be packed on any train that you take it on.  In Belgium it doesn't but it needs to be folded and stowed away like luggage or you have to pay a 10 Euro bike fare, gives rise to endless discussions.  In Germany it depends on the type of train.

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yupiteru | 4 years ago
2 likes

Comes as no surprise - Stagecoach bus drivers around here are officially known as the most miserable people in the known universe

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maviczap | 4 years ago
1 like

Should have had one of them big blue IKEA bags, or a bin liner, problem solved

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yourealwaysbe | 4 years ago
2 likes

I once fell foul of an identical Eurostar policy. Fortunately, in St Pancras, you can source a large carrier bag from Hamley's and some packing tape from WH Smith...

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ubercurmudgeon | 4 years ago
8 likes

Bus-driver-is-a-jobsworth shocker.

Actually, what would be a surprise would be a bus driver enforcing any other rules on their buses, such as no loud music or phone calls, or no hot food. You know, things that actually do irritate other passengers (OK, me.)

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