17. May 2015

The bike-train combination is booming, ticket sales increasing

Cyclists’ congress: ADFC and Pro-Rail Alliance call for more bicycle parking

Combining cycling and rail travel is booming. Deutsche Bahn has recorded an annual increase of five percent in sales of bicycle tickets.

Berlin, May 17 2015. To mark the start of the national bicycle transport congress on Monday in Potsdam, the German cycling club ADFC and the German transport organization the Pro-Rail Alliance have pointed to the growing importance of the combined bicycle and rail travel. “Around five percent of travellers turn up at the station with their bikes,” said Dirk Flege, managing director of the German Pro-Rail Alliance, on Sunday in Berlin. “But although this is a relatively small percentage, train stations are already bursting at the seams,” said Flege. “Cities, municipalities and the station operators are having difficulty in coping with the number of bicycles.” The national managing director of the ADFC, Burkhard Stork, referred to the Netherlands, where at least 40 percent of commuters use their bicycle to get to the train station. “This is also our target for Germany, because eco-mobility will only be successful if cycling and public transport are very well connected. Commuters want to be able to manage last mile quickly and easily,” said Stork. He called for an expansion of sheltered and theft-proof bicycle parking facilities at commuter train stations.

The increasing demand for combined bicycle and train journeys is clearly reflected in ticket sales. According to Deutsch Bahn, the number of bicycle tickets sold for intercity services increased between 2013 and 2014 by over 12 percent. Across all ticket categories – regional (not including tickets on integrated services), domestic intercity and international services – Deutsche Bahn saw sales increase by five percent within one year. “The trend shows that cyclists are also an important customer group for intercity services,” said Pro-Rail Alliance manager Flege. “We are very pleased that it will be possible to take bicycles onto ICx trains.” ADFC manager Stork pointed out that “low-priced tickets for taking bicycles onto buses and trains is one way of getting more people to commute by bike.”

A good network for bicycle rental services is another way of making train-bicycle travel more attractive,” said Pro-Rail Alliance manager Flege. “It is frustrating for people travelling with their bicycles to find there is no space for them on trains. For this reason many rail operators, particularly in tourist areas, have developed programmes that guarantee that travellers can rent a good-quality bicycle at their destination,” said Flege. He cited as an example the North Sea/Baltic Sea rail operator NOB, which since last summer has been offering travellers to the island of Sylt the possibility to rent a bike at ticket machines. According to NOB, around 250 travellers made use of the service soon after it launched, with rising demand.
However, ADFC boss Stork said that there was still a lot to do when it comes to bike rental. “Public bike rental schemes in Germany also have a lot of catching up to do. Good bike-sharing schemes are integrated into the regional public transport systems, meaning commuters can book a bike rental option directly with their monthly ticket. A dense network of bike-rental stations is also important for attracting commuters and spontaneous users. Rental stations no further apart than 300 metres is the goal,” said Stork.

Video statement by Dirk Flege, managing director of the Pro-Rail Alliance (German)

 

Additional information (German)