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South West Trains bans non-folding bikes during Olympics
HAMPSHIRE residents hoping to cycle to the Olympic Games after arriving by train will be forced to leave their non-folding bikes at home.
South West Trains has announced that during the London 2012 Games, non-folding bikes will not be allowed on any of their trains due to an increase of passengers.
The decision has sparked criticism from Sustrans, a charity dedicated to enabling more people to travel by foot, bike or public transport, for going against the ethos of the games to get everyone active.
Simon Pratt, Sustrans regional director for the south east, said: “The Olympic Games presents an excellent opportunity to get people active, but this decision is contradicting the advice that we want to see people take to two wheels to get to the Games.
“In getting to Weymouth or London, many Hampshire residents are going to have to revise their plans, which will also impact unfairly on many who take their bikes on the train every day.
“It’s not too late for South West Trains to reverse this policy and allow bikes on their trains during the Games.”
But South West Trains has confirmed that following a review they will not be changing their policy, which is already in place for certain services at peak times due to limited space.
A spokesman said: “Clearly, during the Olympics and Paralympics Games our train services are going to be even busier.
We will be carrying significant numbers of extra passengers on top of our normal levels of daily customers.
We have considered carefully the position regarding cycles over the period of London 2012, including listening to feedback from our customers and our staff.”
The non-folding bikes restriction will be in place for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, from July 27 until August 12 and then between August 29 and September 9.
Fully folded bikes will still be allowed on their trains at any time.
The only exception will be on July 28 and 29, when passengers will be unable to carry bicycles on services via Epsom to ensure the maximum number of passengers can get to the cycle race at Box Hill.