We went to Sheffield on the Move last night, where trialling bikes on the Tram-Train to Rotherham was discussed.
A gentleman from the PTE spoke first, giving us the background – they have produced a questionnaire that has been circulated to special interest groups asking us some questions about who we think should be given priority. Unsurprisingly, being reasonable people, both the access for all group and ourselves had come to the same conclusions on this.
Our Polly gave a very reasoned talk on why we felt bikes should be included in the trial. (A very different thing from saying that bikes should be carried on the service, or indeed any tram service) including evidence from the many countries where this works.
We then had a rather pompous speaker from the Today’s Railways who knew a lot about the Manchester Metrolink but not much about Supertram and didn’t help his cause by attacking a disabled woman with a brain injury for wearing a helmet. That disabled person Caroline Waugh, gave a spirited account of how she is discriminated against by being refused access to trains and trams because she chooses to use a human-powered mobility device rather than a motorised one. Clearly the existence of disabled cyclists has thrown those who wish to invent a conflict between disabled people and cyclists into disarray.
The outcome I think was that the forum endorsed the principle that bikes should be included in the trial. However, Stagecoach has yet to agree. I seems to me that they had better if they wish to be considered
The following item was about the £8m cuts that the PTE are going to have to make. Rather than make the tough decisions themselves, however, they want us to decide so they can deflect the blame. Ian Jenkinson, manager of Sheffield Community Transport made a strong case for protecting the most vulnerable in the community. I completely agree with IJ that vulnerable people should receive priority when to comes to “Subsidy” (some call it investment) and think there is a case for arguing for example that kids could cycle to school if the roads were made safe for them. Something to think on.
I didn’t get to pick up the SYPTE questionnaire – but we should have a look at it. (I had to help Caroline get back to Dore on the train which all went well – no thanks to the lack of assistance from CycleSheffield and CTC members to whom an appeal for help & moral support went out.) However Dave Holladay had called Northern Customer Assistance and a very nice gentleman called Paul was there to help out – Caroline has his details, could be a useful contact in future. There were 3 bikes on the train already so 6 including the trike and my Brommie, all fitted on fine – on a vehicle which is much smaller than a Supertram. Caroline showed me her route home which is crafty – we will have to incorporate it into a ride sometime. I digress)