Cycling in Sydney Australia
BIke Removal from Central Station.
Just as I thought Sydney was becoming more bike friendly………..
Earlier this week my bike was removed from platform 13 at Central Station and placed in Lost Property. As you can see from the attached
photos there is no sign to say I couldn’t leave my bike there or for that
matter any sign offering an alternative arrangement at the station. I took
these photos after getting my bike back from Lost Property. In fact as far as I
can work out there is no ‘alternative’ arrangement at Central Station.
I think that it is also reasonable to say that the bike was not inconveniencing anyone and its potential as a security threat – one excuse that was given by a Railcorp employee for its removal - is negligible.
Railcorp didn’t consider any of the factors I’ve listed but rather just chose to remove it. This is no easy task though given that my lock
cost $200 and was designed specifically not to be removed. What they did they
do then? They called in the fire brigade! Now I was always under the impression
that you called the emergency services in the event of an emergency. How my bike
parked where it was constitutes an emergency I’m not sure.
Surely a ‘fairer’ and more measured approach would have been to put a note on my bike informing me that station regulations didn’t permit
bikes to be parked on the platform. Since there are no signs stating as much
this would seem to be a more constructive approach.
I actually would have liked to have taken my bike on the train with me and have done this in the past. The last couple of times that I
have tried though the two spots for hanging my bike had been taken, and I had
been forced to stand with my bike for the duration of the journey. With this
being the case leaving my bike at Central seemed the better option and this was
what I’d done on the last 3 occasions. Testament to the nonsensical approach at
Central is that on those occasions nothing had been said or done about it.
On Monday though I returned from a day working in the Blue Mountains to find my bike ‘missing’. This caused considerable stress that was
hardly alleviated when I discovered that it had been the station authorities
themselves that had removed it. Since no staff members on the station platform
seemed to know this I only found this out after 30 minutes when I was directed
to the Station Manager’s office.
With Lost Property closing at 4.20pm I was unfortunately too late to get my bike back immediately and ended up having to walk home. A walk I
repeated in reverse the following day to pick up my bike that I’d never lost in
the first place but had been deemed ‘Lost Property’ by the station authorities.
To add insult to injury I was then asked to pay the $6.40 fee that is charged
to get the bike released.
In the end I was $206.40 lighter in pocket, late for work and feeling really disillusioned by it all. I have lived in a number of cities
around the world and the bike has always been my primary means of transport. In
all of those cities the complimentary relationship between bikes and trains has
been recognised and embraced. Railcorp at Central Station though don’t even
seem to recognise bikes as a legitimate form of transport. The lack of
infrastructure and signage at the station is testament to this.
I have phoned Railcorp to complain and am now at the mercy of their ‘management’ who will assess my complaint in ‘due course’. To be
honest I don’t hold out a great deal of hope, as it was no doubt the
‘management’ who authorised the draconian removal of my bike in the first
I do hope though that my experience can provide an impetus to address the disparity that exists between the work of the City of Sydney to
promote cycling and the seeming unwillingness of Railcorp to cater for
cyclists. In the past 3 years I have noticed a marked increase in the number of
people using bikes for transport in Sydney. I believe the difficulty of finding
a place to hang bikes on trains of late is a reflection of this. For this trend
to continue though we need organisations such as Railcorp to come to the table
and move with the times.