Railway 'Replacement Busses' and bicycles.

S.Giles

Guest
I quite often take my bike on the train, but this can be a problem when there is work being carried out on the track, and a 'replacement bus' is put on by the rail company. The ticket office will quite happily sell you a 'train' ticket, but then you find out that you're supposed to catch a bus instead. I have a problem with this concept already, but things get worse when you have to plead with the bus-driver to let you put your bike in the bus' luggage compartment.

Does anyone know whether there is a legal requirement for the train company to find a way to transport you and your bike to the destination for which you purchased your ticket? I've been in this situation several times in the past, and it doesn't seem right, having bought a train ticket, to then have to beg a bus driver to let your bike on. I think some of the bus drivers can't be bothered to get out of their seat and open the luggage compartment door! They'd rather just turn you away.

I've actually cancelled journeys in the past because of this, so it would be nice to know the answer for future reference.

(The other bus-related thread reminded me of this, but it seemed worth opening a new one to deal with this specific problem)
 
In the small print of the train operators' terms and conditions is the fact that they're not obliged to take you anywhere. So, the quick answer is no, there's no legal requirement to transport you and your bike.
 
OP
S.Giles

S.Giles

Guest
Thanks for the super-quick answer. Not the one I was hoping for, though!

I guess the next question is whether the buses are under contract to transport the 'rail passengers' and any items they have with them that would normally be allowed on the train. The term 'replacement bus' isn't strictly accurate otherwise.
 
From the National Rail T&C of carriage

49. Restrictions
Any Train Company may refuse to accept an item of luggage, an article, an animal or a cycle, even though it meets the requirements set out in Condition 47 and 48 and Appendix B, if, in the opinion of its staff:
(a) it may cause injury, inconvenience or a nuisance or it may cause damage to property;
(b) there is not enough room for it;
(c) the loading or unloading may cause delay to trains; or
(d) it is not carried or packaged in a suitable manner.
...
60. Carriage by road vehicles
These Conditions apply to passengers travelling and luggage, articles, animals and cycles conveyed in road vehicles provided by a Train Company or its agents unless it is made clear to you when you buy your ticket that different conditions apply. The term “train” in this context includes any road vehicle owned or operated by a Train Company or on
its behalf.
A Train Company may replace a train with a road vehicle at short notice or on a planned basis and your journey time may be extended. The Train Company may refuse to accept some types of luggage, articles, animals and cycles in accordance with Condition 49. The Ticket Seller must make clear if any planned replacements are likely to affect your journey when you buy your ticket, provided the information is available to them. If the replacement is at short notice and you cannot complete your journey because the Train Company is unable to transport your luggage, articles, animals and/or cycles by road vehicle, you will be entitled to compensation in line with Condition 42 as if your train had been cancelled.


So if you push them, they should refund your ticket. @User13710 clearly got the officials to do better, which is good.
 

robjh

Legendary Member
Always worth asking the driver but no guarantee of success, Once my two-coach train was replaced by a single minibus and I persuaded the driver to let me on and prop my bike up on its back wheel beside me, but I got oil all over the upholstery so I doubt they'll be repeating that.
 
OP
S.Giles

S.Giles

Guest
...I persuaded the driver to let me on and prop my bike up on its back wheel beside me, but I got oil all over the upholstery so I doubt they'll be repeating that.
Nice work! So now we know why they don't let bikes on buses any more! :-)
 

Brains

Legendary Member
Location
Greenwich
Wife and brother and sister plus luggage and a bike got turfed off a train at Plymouth at about 10pm
Train company got a taxi from the rank to drive them to Bodmin (about 50+ miles each way)
As the cabbie was having the fare paid he actually dropped them off at home at gone midnight, 20 miles north of Bodmin,
150 mile round trip for the cabbie!
 

mythste

Veteran
Location
Manchester
Its happened a couple of times. I find the rate of success is entirely dependent on how nice you are - though I'm aware that shouldn't necessarily be the case!
 

Bodhbh

Guru
I've never not got the bike on a replacement bus or even in a replacement taxi - that time they had to put me in a taxi on my own instead of the 3 or 4 of you they normally try to fit together. Generally they give you a warning that's it's on your head if the bike gets trashed, but that's it. Always a first time tho..
 

Mr_Kipling

Well-Known Member
Location
Berkshire
I work for a rail company and have so for 11 years. There is no legal obligation for the rail company to take your/my bike on a train, let alone a rail replacement bus. they are not out to p*** anyone off, in fact I get a buzz out of helping people when I'm at work. If I had my own way, cycles would be carried on all Rail Replacement. The company I work for advise that bikes cannot be taken on any rail replacement bus , however the bus driver has the final say because he/she is in charge of the bus. Bikes are not permitted on most peek morning trains, but I nor do any of the people I work with stop cyclists getting on peek trains with a bike unless a passenger complains about it, or there clearly is no room.
 

biking_fox

Veteran
Location
Manchester
I suspect there would be a difference if you booked your bike on the train, rather than just turning up with it - although if they company are being sensible they'd let you know that it won't be possible. Depends on the type of journey you're doing.
 

beatlejuice

Gently does it...
Location
Mid Hampshire
As a driver of a rail replacement bus I have been given a notice from my boss that under no circumstances am I allowed to carry a non-folding bike inside a bus. Occationally we get ex-National Express coaches which come with a large boot. Then there is't normally a problem. However we normally get high capacity double deckers. Always check very carefully before you travel by train or buy a second hand Dohan folding bike, like I did. Remember shouting at the bus/coach driver that your rail company have done the dirty on you isn't a recipe for success, it is nothing to do with him/her. If he/she were to get caught by DVSA with a bicycle inside a bus that wasn't fitted to carry them the solids would hit the fan.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom