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
place.


 


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.


 


 

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Dylan,

would you mind compressing those photos and re-posting them please? At 3.3 - 4.9 MB each, they are a bit large to look at.

Getting back to your post, while I wholly sympathise with your distress, were you really surprised? Managing a place like Central Station is quite a huge task and they have to have policies that apply equally to every single commuter. So, if every single commuter wanted to chain an item to the fence of the platform while they went to the Blue Mountains for the day, there would be a hazard / security threat.

It has been suggested on this site before that there should be whole carriages devoted to bike racks and there would be various ways to implement this. I hope that your complaints will further encourage Railcorp to look seriously at this problem.

But, having said all that, aren't there bike lockers at Central Station? (Excuse my ignorance, I rarely go there but I know there are bike lockers at most stations)............
I would say its fairly well known that you can't leave your bike on a train station platform. If you lock your bike up out the front of central you do get a letter attached to your bike to say you can't leave it there.
If you did it as a protest action, then it was brilliant - we do need better bike parking facilities at stations and this is one way to raise awareness. But it you honestly thought you could lock it on the platform and not have it removed then really, I don't know what to say. Remember CityRail removed all the rubbish bins on the platform as a security measure, so of course an unattended bike would be removed. And before you say an unattended bike is not seen as a security threat, read this Wikipedia article on bike bombs.
"I had been forced to stand with my bike for the duration of the journey"

In the past when a couple of us were travelling to Lithgow with our laden touring bikes, we approached the guard at Central to see whether he would allow us to put the bikes in the middle guard's compartment when there was a 6 or 8 car train so that we could sit in the carriage. He allowed us to do this and locked/unlocked the cabin at the appropriate time. I've since tried this from Newcastle-Sydney without success. I don't know whether the guard was following policy or just being a PIA.

It might be worth you giving it at least one try!
I have resized the photos so that they are easier to open.

I think it makes it quite plain to see that it is not an obstacle and Cameron's assertion that it is' fairly well known' that you can't leave a bike on the platform doesn't in any way address the wider issue here.

That is there is no where to leave bikes at Central; there are NO signs saying you can't leave bikes on the platform and they called the fire brigade to remove mine.

Where's the common sense?

On the issue of bike lockers I'm not even sure that is required. Just a simple bike rack in an area that isn't hidden away. There is loads of free space at Central so surely they could assign some space for bikes.
Attachments:
It just seems a little bit obvious that you can't lock your bike up on a train platform. Yes, it's not a solution and there should be bike lockers or places to store bikes at central. They even removed the normal clothing lockers that use to be available a couple of years ago.

There are other threads on this topic
Thanks for the link Cameron.


The attitude of Cityrail towards its customers with bicycles totally sucks.

Bring this up with your local state MP and make him/her earn his/her salary.

BTW, are there cloaking facilities at Central Station?
Am I the only one who is blown away by the fact that they called the fire brigade in? Would a note on my bike not have been a little more constructive. I get the impression that the cycling community in Sydney has got to the point that it just accepts this sort of shite as par for course. Shame really...................
I can't believe the fire brigade actually responded.

I've seen a bike locked to the railing on the concourse at my local station (Rockdale) that had a note stuck on it from the station master. It even had directions to the nearest bike rack and bike lockers.
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