June 2014

Scotland’s Bike-Rail future

Bids are now in to the Scottish Government from five companies to run Scotrail for the 10 years from March 2015…

Concerned members of the public – you? – can help ensure that the winning company is as bike-friendly as possible.

We have already reported that the government’s Invitation to Tender was more bike-friendly than we had expected, and so it is likely that some of the bids will have made an effort on this.  The bids, of course, are confidential, so we have little idea what is in each of them, though doubtless there is a hint from how the 5 bidders treat cycle/rail in rail franchises which they run elsewhere in the UK.

The Scottish government is now in the process of assessing the 5 bids and so if you have concerns about bike-rail it is really important to remind them that this must be an important factor in their decision.

With a government aim that 10% of all journeys should be by bike by 2020, integration of cycling and public transport is a crucial aspect.   Your concerns may be about bike carriage, bike hire at stations, secure bike storage, access to stations (e.g. the current disaster at Waverley), bike hubs, or any combination of these.


  • Most important – email your own MSPs.  Tell them why it is important to you that the winning bid takes bike/rail integration as seriously as possible and ask them to speak to the Transport Minister about this.  We suggest you do not lobby for particular companies but just make the general point about the need for the winning bid to include strong cycle/rail integration commitments.
  • The 5 bidding companies will not tell you what is in their bids, as this is highly confidential.   However if you are interested you could always ask them what other UK rail franchises they run and how they handle bike/rail in those areas.  We included websites and email addresses in this article.

This is a huge opportunity for a step change in bike/rail provision in Scotland.   Spokes has been working hard on this ever since the re-franchising was announced, and now you can help too.  The outcome will have a major impact on bike/rail conditions throughout Scotland for the next 10 years, and so it could hardly be more important.

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