True stories from the Great Railway Disaster; A weekly chronicle of the absurdities caused by the Government's privatisation programme

No 23: So what's the fare for the bicycle?
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TERENCE WARNEFORD of Malvern overheard the following conversation at a Malvern Link station. A boy wanted to take his bike down the line to Colwall. He asked the station-man about the fare.

"It's 70p single, 90p return."

"Can I take my bike on the train?"

"On some trains you can, on others you can only if there's room."

"How much does it cost?"

"On the green ones, it doesn't cost anything, but it's up to the guard to let you on if there's room. On the blue and white ones, it costs pounds 3 per journey."

"So it would be 90p for me, and pounds 6 for the bike?

"That's right. Sorry son."

The lad went off to ask his dad to drive him and the bike there.

Green trains are run by Centro, operating trains in the West Midlands area with financial support from local authorities. The blue and white ones are run by Thames trains, one of BR's 25 train operating companies. Moreover, he would have to make sure what train would come first (Thames operates a penalty fares system, Centro does not). He would have to consult two time- tables to ensure he wasn't taking his bike without a ticket on a train where one was required. Or, he might have wasted pounds 6 on a ticket when his bike would have been carried free.