It is now easier for cyclists to take their bicycles to areas across the Island using public transport instead of their cars.
The Isle of Wight Council is working with Southern Vectis to provide bike storage facilities on four buses. The buses, which are the existing ‘Coaster’ route vehicles, have been converted to each store up to six bicycles at a time using money from the council’s sustainable transport access to tourism project, which is funded by the government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF).
Four journeys will leave per day from either Ryde or Yarmouth, with some extended to include East Cowes and Newport, providing a round-the-Island connection for cyclists. It will mean cyclists can now visit local attractions or areas they would normally drive to using public transport instead with their bicycles.
Luisa Hillard is the council’s Executive Member for sustainability and welcomes the new buses. She said: “This project is part of the council’s commitment to promoting greener, car-free tourism on the Island. It will support cyclists getting from the ferries, to and from their accommodation and to the tourist attractions in more remote locations and will be particularly useful for those who may not feel able to cycle long distances but enjoy cycling locally.
“This is just one of many other exciting projects which are benefiting from government funding to improve the cycling infrastructure for visitors and locals and will strengthen the reputation of the Isle of Wight as one of the best places for a cycling holidays in the world.”
General manager of Southern Vectis, Matt Kitchin added: “The Coaster route has proven to be tremendously popular as it is a great way to see the Island and visit attractions without the hassle of driving. The addition of space for bikes on board gives more opportunities for cyclists to get out and about, enjoying the scenery without relying on a car.”
The Island’s destination management organisation Visit Isle of Wight has recently launched its ‘Bicycle Island’ scheme which is aimed at bringing more cycle tourists to the Island. Tom Ransom from Visit Wight is responsible for promoting cycle tourism and said: “Having the bike buses is a really valuable addition to our cycle friendly reputation. It makes cycle touring more accesible to all by providing a service to those of us who perhaps do not have thighs like those of Chris Hoy. Combining a bus trip with a bike ride allows people to be bolder and go further, without needing to use a car for transport”.
The newly converted Coaster buses will begin service from 5 April and will run daily until 28 September. There is no charge to carry bicycles on the buses other than the normal passenger fare.
The mechanism used for storing the bicycles has been designed by two local engineering students
Notes for editors
Please credit Isle of Wight Council if you use any this photo which shows bicycles in use on one of the storage racks. Other photos are available on request.
The Isle of Wight Council’s Sustainable Transport Access to Tourism project is a £3.95 million project that is funded through the government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund. Funding was won in the summer of 2012 and the programme continues until March 2015.
The Sustainable Transport Access to Tourism project involves improvements to walking and cycling infrastructure, public transport services and the provision of improved passenger transport information. In addition, the project is funding extensive marketing of the Island as a destination for “green” travel holidays. This element is being delivered by Visit Isle of Wight, the Island’s tourist board.
The overall aim of the project is to encourage more people to use sustainable travel as opposed the car while on holiday, as well as boosting the local economy by attracting increased numbers of visitors who come to the Island and travel sustainably.
Simon Butler, Media Relations Officer
Tel: 01983 821000 ext 6254
Mob: 07976 347636