Dynamo emailed Leo Goodwin, the chairman of Transpennine Express:
Dear Mr Goodwin
I am writing to you about your company’s recent change of policy requiring cyclists to reserve a space on your trains at least 24 hours before travel. I write on behalf of Dynamo Cycle Campaign in Lancaster.
Please understand that we have no objection to the need to reserve. Since Lancaster is a halfway station on your Manchester and Scotland line, we welcome the chance to be able to book a space and be reasonably sure that we can get our bikes on.
Our complaint is the 24 hours’ notice. It is very rigid and makes no allowances for changes of plan. Would it not be possible for your company to emulate Virgin Trains West Coast and be more flexible in the notice required? With Virgin it’s possible to reserve a space until shortly before the train arrives at the station. Without being that generous, perhaps Transpennine could rethink its policy?
We do hope that you will take these comments on board and look forward to hearing from your company.
and quickly got a reply from the Transport Integration Manager:
I have been passed your email by our Managing Director, Leo Goodwin.
Thank you for your comments regarding the changes to the TransPennine Express cycle policy. We appreciate that this change is unpopular with some cyclists due to the amount of notice required prior to travel, and recognise the benefits that reducing this would offer. The change has been made in advance of the introduction of our new trains, which have a different approach to the carriage of cycles, with the storage areas slightly more segregated from the seating areas of the train, but also allows us to manage capacity on board our trains in the interim, prior to the new train arriving, recognising the popularity of our services.
We are currently unable to offer the same reduced notice period as some other UK operators due to the systems which are used to manage reservations on our trains, however with the introduction of new trains and updates to our systems, we hope to be able to reduce this timescale soon.
I hope this response is of use, and sets out the improvements we hope to make as soon as we can.
So it’s a question of wait and see . . .