Bus operator Stagecoach has revealed that more than £1 million worth of bicycles have been bought by staff signing up to the Cycle To Work scheme since the company made the initiative available to them at the start of this year. Meanwhile, Stagecoach was represented at a cycle awareness workshop hosted by Newcastle Cycling Campaign earlier this year.
So far, some 1,500 staff including bus drivers from each of its regional bus operations as well as employees at its headquarters in Perth, Scotland, have bought bikes through the government-backed scheme, which Stagecoach rolled out to its workers in January.
The company has also worked on improving facilities for those staff who choose to ride a bike to work, such as bike racks, lockers and shower facilities at its depots.
“This is proving to be a very successful scheme and I’m delighted that so many of our employees have taken advantage of the offer,” said Stagecoach UK Bus Managing Director, Les Warneford.
“Sustainability is at the heart of our business and this scheme is a great opportunity for our staff to use a greener, and healthier, form of transport to and from work as well as in their spare time.”
Getting bus drivers onto bikes is one thing, but a search on YouTube reveals plenty of instances where cyclists have experienced near-misses in incidents involving Stagecoach buses, and we’ve asked the company for details of any cycle awareness training they offer drivers.
In June this year, Newcastle Cycling Campaign organised the city’s first cycle awareness workshop, with campaign member Tanja Cooper, who organised the event, saying: “The management of all major bus operators in Newcastle - Arriva, GoAhead, Nexus and Stagecoach - fully supported the workshop.
“An evenly split group of 20 cyclists and bus drivers and managers attended.
“There seemed to be a little apprehension in the air at the start, but this turned very quickly into a rather lively, good natured and constructive discussion.
“Everyone joined in and both sides gave advice and we learned how to watch out for each other in future. The Campaign’s very encouraged by the level of support and interest from Newcastle City Council and Newcastle’s bus operators.
“We had nothing but positive feedback. We are now thinking of regular workshops. A joint bike has also been mooted.”
One attendee, Karl Rowe of rival bus operator Arriva, commented: "As both a bus driver and a cyclist I found the meeting extremely useful in highlighting ways in which I can play my part in helping to keep both cyclists and myself safe on the roads in Newcastle.
“It was exciting to see both what is available for the Newcastle cyclist and how seriously our safety on the roads is being taken, and will be passing on what I learnt to my colleagues back at the depot".
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.