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Let’s not stand for less space for bikes

The unveiling of Victoria’s new V/Line VLocity trains revealed that the revamped carriages will have even less space for bikes.

The Age reported that regional commuters will get 14 additional seats on the new carriages at the expense of a toilet and space for bikes and places to stow luggage.

The first of the 13 new regional trains will be on the network by November 1 but the government is yet to confirm which specific lines will receive them only stating that they would be used on the ‘busiest routes’.

Bicycle Network and many people in the wider bike riding community see the changes as a major blow to Victoria’s bike tourism operators.

Whether you’re chasing MTB thrills, serene country rail trails or steep mountains, Victoria is blessed with world-class bike riding experiences.

By making it even harder than it already is for people to travel with their bikes on V/Line trains, we’re robbing local tourism operators of the opportunity to the capitalise on the growing demand for cycle tourism. It’s short-term thinking that actively discourages people from exploring our regional communities by bike.

For years, Bicycle Network’s Great Vic Bike Ride has shown that bike riders spend more money than regular tourists, stay for longer and return more frequently.

Areas such as Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Echuca, Maryborough and Traralgon are all set to suffer, with many having invested in cycle tourism projects. 

As it stands, V/Line is already notoriously difficult for people who ride. Space for bicycles is limited and availability is subject to the discretion of the conductor. The latest move is making a bad situation even worse.

V/Line’s website states that they simply can’t cater for groups of riders.

“Large groups wishing to travel to and from regional Victoria with their bicycles will need to make alternative arrangements to transport their bikes.”

Lunch with Jacinta

Bicycle Network is calling on the government to make it easier for people to access and enjoy our regional bike tourism assets.

As a way to make sure our message is heard, Bicycle Network is inviting members and supporters to bring their bikes to Southern Cross Station on Tuesday 13 November, ready to board the new carriages.

The Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan represents Bendigo East, so we thought we’d try and take the train to visit her for lunch, spending our tourism dollars at a local eatery.

According to Bendigo Tourism, there’s plenty for bike riders to see and do too. After lunch we could explore the O’Keefe Rail Trail, Bendigo Creek Track or Linear Trail.

However, given the difficulty of taking our bikes on V/Line trains, we know our chances of all making it there with bikes in tow are slim.

Help us make a statement on the platform and show that people want to explore and enjoy our regional communities by bike.

We’ll meet on the platform at Southern Cross Station at 10:10am, ready to catch the 10:20am V/Line service to Bendigo.

Please let us know if you’ll be joining us by sending an email to campaigns@bicyclenetwork.com.au.

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