'Bike Bus' Service Launches in the Lake District

Report by Lake District National Park Authority
Tuesday 8th May 2012

A new bus service is being launched to help cyclists and mountain bikers travel around the Lake District.

The route 800 service will be run by Stagecoach as part of an innovative sustainable transport programme, which aims to inspire visitors to the Lake District National Park to Drive Less See More.

The new service started on the 5th May and the buses will run at weekends and bank holidays until the summer holidays and in September. From 15 July until August 31 it will be a daily service.

The ‘bike bus' service will see specially converted buses, that are able to carry up to 12 bikes and riders, travel through the heart of the Lakes along the A591 from Windermere Railway Station to the Whinlatter Forest visitor Centre. The buses will stop at Ambleside, Rydal, Grasmere, Thirlspot, Keswick and Braithwaite on the way.

Many visitors to the area currently use their cars to carry their bikes to where they want to ride, and other visitors are put off cycling as an option to explore the area because they think it is too difficult to get around. The bike bus has been created to make it easier for people to get around more sustainably by using a combination of bike and bus.

Alistair Kirkbride, sustainable transport adviser for the Lake District National Park Authority, said: "The bike bus is a great new service which we hope will become very popular with cyclists and mountain bikers visiting the Lake District.

"Visitors will use the bike bus to get to a new area to explore by bike, to mountain bike on the trails up at Whinlatter Forest, or as a way of being able to cycle further distances with the comfort of knowing they can hop on the bus to get back.

"The bike bus will really make it easier for people to get out of their cars for a day of their visit and explore the area on two-wheels - and they will see a lot more and have a lot more fun by doing so."

Nigel Winter, managing director of Stagecoach in Cumbria and North Lancashire, said: "We are keen supporters of this new sustainable travel programme and the bike bus is just one of a number of additional services we will be providing as part of this project.

"We have converted our buses by removing seating to allow more bikes to be carried. This service will make it easier for people to be able to leave their car at their accommodation and explore the area using the greener, and more fun, options of bike and bus."

Stagecoach has also adapted a number of buses to carry two bikes on the 599 route between Windermere and Grasmere, creating further options for cyclists to use buses to get to where they want to ride.

The GoLakes Travel programme is a £6.9 million initiative being delivered in partnership by Cumbria County Council, the Lake District National Park Authority and Cumbria Tourism to influence people to make fewer car journeys while visiting the Lake District. It aims to reduce the area's CO2 emissions by to 11,000 tonnes by 2015.

The programme, which has been funded primarily through the Department for Transport, along with some matched funding, is focussed on the Central and Southern Lake District, including the towns and villages of Grasmere, Ambleside, Windermere, Kendal, Hawkshead and Coniston. This area has been chosen because it receives the majority of visitors to the National Park.

The programme includes nine interlinking projects which will deliver multiple improvements to travel infrastructure, such as improved cycleways, more and better bus stops, more frequent bus services, a low emission car hire network, the expansion of an electric cycle network, improved and more flexible ticketing and better transport information.

For more information on sustainable travel options in the Lake District visit www.golakes.co.uk

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