Wgtn Train Ban On Cycles


Wellington cyclists wanting to carry their bike on trains are being urged to buy a folding bike instead, now the new trains are being introduced.

This is especially so when the new Matangi trains start running in the next week or so as there will be a ban (on the Johnsonville line) on carrying bikes on them in peak hours or in the case of  the other lines, there will be no more than a couple of trains during the peak hour services on which cycles will be allowed.

There will also be new restrictions on how many bikes can be used on both the Matangi and refurbished Ganz Mavag trains – 2 in each Ganz Mavag two car sete and no more than 3 in each Matangi two-car set.

So it will be a lucky dip if you arrive with your bike at the station as to whether there will be room.


Punter with bike waits in hope at Wellington Railway Station

The bikes on Matangi have to fit into a designated area and if that area is full, you won’t be able to carry your bike on board. Likewise the ones in the Ganz Mavag have to be loaded into the so called “dog box” area and they will be placed there by train staff. Passenger luggage is also allowed there so if such luggage is already in the dog box, the cycles miss out.

Cycles though will be carried free.

A report to a Greater Wellington regional council committee argued in favour of cyclists opting for compact, fully folding cycles. The committee decided such cycles can be carried at all times and on all trains, providing they are folded down before boarding the train. Folding bikes must not exceed the dimensions of 82cm long x 69cm high x 39cm wide.  They must have wheel rims no more than 51cm in diameter.

It said folding bikes reduce the pressure on limited bike parking facilities at train stations, as well as limited space for cycles on trains. They also enable cycle/train commuters to “become integrated with most bus services.”

To promote the uptake of folding bikes, the council is promoting a mid-range Dahon folding bike and a Giant Bicycles folding bike with a 25-30%-off discount voucher. This will reduce the cost of a folding bike to around $500. Greater Wellington is subsidising this offer to the value of $50 per bicycle and it’s first in first served.

You also can check out folding bikes here


Bike racks outside Wellington's main railway station

A survey found that during the morning peak passengers with bikes arrive from the Paraparaumu/ Johnsonville/Hutt lines at the rate of about 12 per hour.

On average, these commuters caught the train with their bikes 4.2 days per week. About half of these commuters had a bike journey at either end of their train trip that was less than 10 minutes ride. Of 23 respondents, six said they would drive if they could not take their bike on the train. Of the rest, the most popular alternate modes stated were walk, bus and skateboard.

During the evening peak, bike−carrying passenge rs depart on the Paraparaumu/ Johnsonville/Hutt lines at the rate of about 30 per hour. The evening peak usage was considered to besignificantly higher for the following reasons:

  • Cycle/Train commuters choose to avoid climbing the Ngaio and Ngauranga Gorges
  • Cycle/train commuters caught out by deteriorating weather or light
  • Hutt Valley cycle/train commuters feel SH2 northbound is unsafe
  • Some cycle/train commuters exhausted at the end of the working day

During the survey the most popular stations for cycle/train commuters (excluding Wellington) were:

  • Plimmerton (6 inbound/5 outbound)
  • Paraparaumu (5 inbound/4 outbound)
  • Paremata (4 outbound)
  • Porirua (4 inbound/11 outbound)
  • Johnsonville (3 inbound/5 outbound)
  • Silverstream (4 outbound
  • Waterloo (3 inbound/7 outbound)

Inside Matangi- limited room for bikes


A January survey showed 12% of respondents have taken a bike on a train, 21% of respondents are likely to take a bike on a train in the future, and50% of respondents think bikes should be allowed on the new trains in peak times
Those that intend taking bikes on trains in the future are significantly more likely to think bikes should be allowed on the new trains in peak times (70%). 94% of respondents think bikes should be allowed on the new trains in off peak times. Those that intend taking bikes on trains in the future are significantly more likely to think bikes should be allowed on the new trains in off−peak times (’100%)

21% of respondents said they would be annoyed if they had to vacate their seat for a bike when they could get another seat.

57% of respondents would be annoyed if they had to vacate their seat for a bike, when they could not get another seat. Those who have taken a bike on a train are significantly less likely to be annoyed (47%).

Will cyclists go back to Wellington roads?

An interesting report before the committee showed what other countries do:

BART USA- allows cycles on trains, except on those shown in highlighted areas of BART schedules.  They also have restrictions a bout cycles in certain stations at specified times.  Folding bikes are allowed at any time. • Switzerland – Allow cycles on trains at any time, if space permits, but From Mondays to Fridays, accompanied bikes are allowed only from 08:00 to 16:00 and from 19:00 to 06:00.  A fee is paid for this service.  No mention made of folding bikes.

UK – Various rail operators but most allow folding bikes at all times. Carriage is free on most services but there are restrictions during peak times.

MBTA – (Massachusettes Bay) – Commuter Rail, allows cycles anytime, except during  weekday rush hours (morning inbound and evening outbound), which are shaded on the Commuter Rail Schedules.  On the subway two cycles are allowed on each car and not allowed on certain lines at all.

MTA (New York) – Allow cycles for passengers with a bicycle permit, which must be applied for before travel.  Only two bikes per car with a maximum of 4 bicycles per train will be carried.  Bicycles are excluded from  4pm – 8pm and 5.30am – 9am.

Perth – Cycles are not permitted between 7am – 9am and 4pm – 6.30pm and allowed in the ‘counterflow’ direction.  No mention made of folding cycles or cost.

Sydney – Cycles allowed free of charge. Cycles allowed free of charge unless you want to travel between 6am - 9am and  3.30pm – 7.30pm on weekdays

Melbourne – No mention of restricted hours.  Cycles allowed on metropolitan services for free. No restrictions on folding cycles.

Berlin- Allows bikes on trains at all hours but state in an article in PTI magazine, Aug 2010  “For the operator, the carriage of bicycles on board BVG vehicles (Metro, tramway, bus) is the most problematical possible combination.  As well as the space which has to be made available for a bicycle (roughly 1.90m, or four standing spaces), there is also a very real possibility of clashes with ordinary passengers (blocked gangways, dirtying of clothes), to the point where the latter may be deterred from travelling on public transport. ……

Although the carriage of bicycles is not a problem for BVG in quantitative terms for now,  none the less it is also uneconomic and carries great potential for conflict if and when the life-styles of pedestrians and cycles – which are not always compatible in any case converge on the metro.  For that reason BVG, instead of bringing cyclists onto its vehicles, is een to bring the only as far as the vehicle…”







  1. Nick R says:

    Melbourne tried to implement a formal ban on bikes at peak hour last year, but it was removed due to popular revolt. However there is a long standing defacto policy where cyclists are asked to avoid crowded trains.

    This seems perfectly effective and at peak you almost never see anyone try to get a bike onto jam packed trains. It’s kinda self limiting, it would be almost impossible to manoeuvre a bicycle onto a crush loaded train anyway so the letter of the law would come second to the realities of the situation in any case.

  2. Luke says:

    need to have more bike storage lockers at stations, this would solve a fair amount if the issue

  3. mark says:

    I certainly understand the issue, even though I am a keen cyclist and train user - every big bike can take 1-2 people’s space during crush load time.

    Luke - it helps, but it doesn’t really solve the issue, because many people like to have their bike at both ends of the trip.

    And folding bikes - well, I guess they have improved, but I’d remain wary. Not to speak of the problem of getting a folding bike that fits my size. I’d need TWO.

  4. Brendan says:

    It would be worth adding Caltrain in the greater SF Bay area to that list under BART. The northern car is a bike car, where half of the car’s lower level is for bike parking. It’s messy these days, as the newer cars don’t have the same capacity as older cars, so people are getting bumped and ridership is dropping. Caltrain is complaining about funding. You see where this is going.

  5. George D says:

    Disappointing, really.

  6. egirl says:

    I don’t see why this is much of an issue, at this rate the Matangi trains aren’t ever going to be put into service.

    I’ve once seen a commuter with a fold up bike. I know I wouldn’t want to ride it, knowing my luck and size, it’d collapse while I’m on it. But in general, I agree with Nick R in that reality and common sense should dictate the situation, not rules and policies. To me, why stop at limiting/banning bikes? Prams are just as or if not more space consuming. But you hardly ever see either a parent and pram on a peak train, and almost as little see a cyclist on a peak train. Because they use their common sense!

  7. Tim Doyle says:

    Given the limited car parking at the train stations and the relatively small space that bike racks take up, I think it’s a bit short sighted of the council to maintain the status quo of car parks. Wouldn’t getting rid of one or two car parks to accommodate 20-30 bikes be a better alternative - future generations will benefit from the bike rack, rather than a few one-off purchases for folding bikes?


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