During the track renewal work of the Wirral loop Merseyrail are offering a unique service for passengers with bicycles. Please read this report by Paul Rogers, a cycling and bus enthusiast who we are proud to have on our member’s list. You can follow Paul on twitter, his handle is @cyclist13:
Firstly this appears to be a first in the UK a dedicated bus carrying bikes and cyclists together for rail replacement services, so a big thanks to Merseytravel, Merseyrail ,Network Rail and Arriva bus drivers and its staff at Green lane for the conversion work.
The bus is a single decker bus run and driven by 2 dedicated very friendly, helpful professional drivers, branded both sides and back as “BIKE BUS”, painted blue and white, running hourly from the side of Hamilton Square station, Bridge street, to Liverpool Tithebarn Street, under the old station clock, near Moorefields stations, 1 minute walk if that. See timetable above.
There are seats for 9 cyclists to the rear of the bus, and floor mounted racks for a similar amount of bikes, the racks hold the front and rear wheels of the bike and a movable arm attached to the floor clamps onto the frame.
The racks look as if they can accept a tandem as there is adequete space between the racks,(see pictures), and the drivers have access to elastic cords, but fat bikes may struggle eg bikes with 4 inch wide tyres.
The Driver will show you how to secure your bike, start loading from the back of the bus when loading,and work forward, it makes it easier for new boarding cyclists to load their bikes so they dont have to squeeze between bikes.
As the bus runs hourly there is plenty of time to unload, wait till bus stops as there are no grab rails, a bit weird if used to having seats to hold onto.
A few other things of note, the bus is warm, got back tonight soaked through, and nice to get onto a warm bus,its also a recycled bus, it was a service bus, then a bus driver trainer, now a bike bus = recycled bus.
Finaly let Merseytravel and Arriva bus northwest know your thoughts, and hopefully the scheme/bus can be used on other rail replacement services.
Paul Rogers, a cyclist and bus enthusiast (@cyclist13).