From 26 July, a separate ticket must be purchased in order to transport a bicycle by train
From 26 July, the conditions for traveling on Elron trains with a bicycle will change. The current free bicycle transport has led to a situation where bicycles clog aisles and significantly impede the movement of passengers. In the summer season, you will have to buy a bicycle ticket for your bike.
"The large number of bicycles on trains is an increasingly serious problem; often the entire aisle is occupied. This has led to a situation where the abundance of wheels prevents movement on the train, so passengers cannot get to the toilet, the attendant cannot move around, passengers cannot get to their desired seat. There are also delays because the entry and exit of many bicycles take a long time, especially in Tallinn, where there are many stops. In addition to the above, the situation is also dangerous because, in the event of emergency braking, there is nowhere for a person standing in the middle of area C to hold on to. All this scares away other customers who prefer to travel by car due to the discomfort," described Ronnie Kongo, Elron's Sales, and Development Manager.
Kongo pointed out that the bicycle ticket had been avoided so far and that concern of every summer had first been addressed by other measures, but no it is unfortunately no longer sufficient: "Many stations have good bicycle storage facilities; in electric trains, we have made the entrance areas more spacious so that passengers with prams can also use other wagons to travel, and thus there is more space for bicycles in area C; In the timetable search, we show passengers whether it is recommended to enter with a bike or not. Unfortunately, these measures are no longer sufficient in a situation where overall bicycle use is constantly increasing."
"The fact that people are increasingly using environmentally friendly modes of transport, including bicycles, is in itself, extremely positive. When ordering our new trains, we have provided more space for bicycles. In our current trains, too, travelers with bikes are still welcome when there is a reasonable number of them, but often this is no longer the case. It must be understood that more trains will not be added until 2025, and the capacity of existing trains is limited, which is why we are essentially faced with the choice of whether to give priority to people or to transport the bicycle as luggage. A bicycle takes up space for several people and, unlike a pram or wheelchair, it is usually not an urgent necessity to take a bicycle on a train. In view of the well-being of the passengers, it is no longer possible to continue like that, and from now on, a ticket must be purchased for the bike on the train from the customer service representative," said Kongo.
He added that today's situation is also uncomfortable for the bike riders themselves. "With a bicycle ticket, we can guide people to behave more environmentally friendly - those who do not necessarily need to take a bike to the train will leave it at the train station, and those who really can help it will receive a more convenient service because there is more space for their bike. At first glance, it may seem that the solution could be to use larger trains but leaving aside the need for investment of tens of millions, such a solution could not be more environmentally friendly because operating a larger train also means higher energy consumption and environmental burden. The most economical way is to combine the bike and the train so that the bike stays at the train station like anywhere else in Europe."
The bicycle ticket is valid seasonally from April to the end of October on all trains. The ticket price depends on the length of the trip and is 50% of the price of the corresponding full ticket, but the minimum is 1 euro. The ticket must be purchased on the train from the customer service person. It is not possible to buy a ticket for the bike in advance because Elron cannot guarantee that the bicycle will always fit on a specific departure.
Elron's Sales and Development Manager emphasized that if a passenger has the right to ride for free paid by the local government (e.g., Tallinn residents), then this ride does not extend to the bike, and a ticket must be purchased for the bike. However, passengers who have the right to travel free of charge under the Public Transport Act (a child who has not reached the age of seven by 1 October of the current school year or whose schooling has been postponed; a disabled person up to and including 16 years of age; a person with a profound disability; a person with severe visual impairment; escort of a person with a profound or severe visual impairment) as well as passengers aged 65+ do not have to buy a bicycle ticket.
The bicycle ticket does not apply:
- to a bike with a collapsible frame that is packed;
- to a bike with all wheels less than 25 cm in diameter (e.g., a mini scooter).