Going Going Bike

Aug 312011
Bike Inside Bus

Cyclists will be allowed to put their bikes on buses in some Scottish bus routes in a pioneering trial from transport operator First Group.

Cyclists will be able to board First Group bus services with their bikes in Glasgow, Aberdeen and services that connect eastern Scotland. The trial for the bike on bus scheme is due to start in the autumn.

Only after 7pm

Bikes will be parked in the space occupied by baby buggies or wheelchairs if the space is not occupied by those items and only after 7pm when passenger traffic on the buses are less busy. Only one bike will be carried per bus.

Mark Savelli, First Group’s regional managing director for Scotland,  told the Scotsman newspaper that cycles would be carried for free initially, though a charge of £1 could be considered if the trial is successful.

“We should be seeing cyclists as a friend not a foe – buses and bikes often just try to avoid each other. We could help encourage people to cycle, knowing they would not have to go back home in the dark and wet.”


First Group’s move follows a campaign in the Scottish Parliament to get Scottish bus companies to carry bikes on their vehicles, whether inside or strapped to buses. Earlier this year, Green Lothians MSP Alison Johnstone put forward a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling on bus firms to provide bike racks for both leisure and everyday journeys.

Blog photo used courtesy of Dave Holladay. David has also been kind enough to add some comments on the subject of bikes on buses below.

See also

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  8 Responses to “Scottish bus firm to allow bikes on buses”

  1. Actually, cyclists have been able to take their bikes on certain rural buses in South Ayrshire for some years.

  2. Most American buses now have racks for bikes on the front of the bus. I used one in Chicago. Why don’t UK buses have them?

  3. It would be nice if you were able to give me the credit for the photo you are using – this was taken in Sheffield where the Rural links bus service contract for Bradfields and Rivelin, specified that up to 4 bikes could be carried – 2 externally on a rear mounted rack and 2 internally. The bus is owned by SYPTE but was at that time being operated by Yorkshire Terrier (which was taken over by Stagecoach).  This move is actually a restoration of the facility which SMT used to have for carrying bikes back in the mid 1980′s and the facility has never been dropped by Stagecoach for many of their longer distance Express services.
    Bikes are already carried inside other service buses – the AD211 (Hadrians Wall) the Ilfrecombe-Westward Ho surf & bike bus, the ferry piers service (Argyll), and the Snowdon S2 services to the road summit at Pen y Pass.
    Coaches go one better and bikes are very commonly carried (I estimate 2-3% of passengers on commuter services of Oxford Tube and Oxford Express – both operate 24/7 and have a 6 minute frequency at peak times) and Stagecoach Bluebird’s coaches often get young riders to BMX/MTB trails independent from the parental taxi service,and with up to 10 bikes per coach (20% of the seats filled by fare paying cyclists.
    The new buses being specified for the Borders contracts to serve Peebles (Glentress) and Galashiels-Carlisle will be set up to carry bikes from the outset.
    Remember also that most long distance coach services also carry bikes, provided you pack them flat and wrap them up to protect the other luggage in the hold – something I worked on the National Express in the mid 1990′s.
    Now to get sorted with some interesting fast ferries Glasgow to Campbeltown in around 2 hours so you can cycle up Argyll with the wind behind you.

    • David, happy to give credit to the photo. Thanks for the comments and knowledge as well

      I am a regular user of the Oxford Tube on account of family living in Oxford. It is a fantastic service and with the newer coaches, the drivers are allowed to take three bikes. The Express does not run this service as far as I am aware.

  4. “…..We could help encourage people to cycle, knowing they would not have to go back home in the dark and wet”.
    Well, that is if after you have gone somewhere and want to come back there is not another bike on the bus already!  
    Also, imagine using a bus to go 50 miles into the country, having a nice day cycling, then finding the last bus has a bike on it!!
    Plus, there are no charges for pushchairs or wheelchairs, so a £1.00 charge for helping to save the environment, whilst not excesive in monetary terms, is not exactly an encouragement to be green.

  5. Susi CJ – yes the coaches on X77 and X76 always have carried bikes – Smiths of Patna officially started this around 2004-05 and the contractor for the Girvan-Newton Stewart service was carrying bikes.  I think the Rural services supported by SPT have the facility officially too.
    Mary Ann H – read TRL 592 report – in EU the US system is illegal as it delivers sharp forward facing edges and we have far greater number of pedestrians around – and higher value on pedestrian welfare than US
    Zalien – this is a toe in the water – we know it does work unofficially anyway – and 2 bikes will easily fit ( most drivers are pragmatic – if the bus is safe it travels) if this proves that the sky won’t fall in and delivers extra passengers, we’ll see it happening more and with more space made available. let’s do what we can now and move forward a stage.

  6. Go North East have been carrying bikes on their ‘Lime’ service for over a year now. It runs from Sunderland to Consett, parallel with the C2C route much of the way.

  7. Hi all, My name is Rhys John and Im a design post grad student at UWIC in Cardiff.
    Im investigating BICYCLES on BUSES and am asking the question:
    Can the way in which Buses cater for cyclists be improved?
    Please fill in my really quick questionaire by clicking the link below, I’d love to know what you all think.
    Please state your general location in the comments box at the end of the survey along with any additional information.
    Thank you all very much

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