I regularly take a folded Brompton onto buses in Derby and Nottingham and, until recently, have always found it really easy. However, a couple of recent episodes have caused me problems. These were:
- I was evicted from the Medilink service (between the 2 hospitals in Nottingham) as the driver said “bikes (folded or not) are not allowed on the service”. I’ve taken this up with the service provider and they have agreed on a policy which allows folding cycles in the future but with a lot of restrictions – e.g. must be in a bag, must be able to be carried in one hand, must be with the passenger at all times, driver has final say, …
- Trent Barton Red Arrow driver informed me that folded cycles would only be allowed inside the coach if enclosed in a bag. Generally I’m happy to store the bike in the lockers underneath the coaches but Derby bus station now has barriers preventing access to the lockers and some of the Red Arrow coaches have dangerous lockers which cannot be used (and which have been broken for months!). Further discussion with Trent Barton has not resulted in any definitive policy.
In general, I see a general trend from the bus companies in trying to find reasons not to allow the folded cycles onto their services rather than actively trying to encourage more passengers to combine the use of cycles and buses. I hope to see this trend reverse in the near future.
One tip for Brompton users is that the IKEA large blue plastic/fabric bag (cost of 40p each from the checkouts) is large enough to place a folded Brompton into.
I should say that, apart from the recent incident with the Red Arrow, I have found Trent Barton to be very accomodating to me and my folded cycle and hope they can continue this excellent attitude.