Kenniscentrum voor fietsbeleid

Train stations

The bicycle for transportation from home to the train station proves to be a powerful and therefore widely used combination of transport modalities: Bicycle and train: a powerful combination. The effectiveness of this combination depends in part on the facilities for bicycle parking at train stations. The Ministry of Transport and Communication recognised this and initiated an extensive program (‘Ruimte voor de fiets’) in 2001 to update the bicycle parking facilities at all 380 train stations in the Netherlands: Updating bicycle parking facilities at all 380 train stations (Modernisering fietsparkeervoorzieningen bij alle 380 NS-stations). This programme was a huge success. Frighteningly so: new, improved parking facilities, often greatly expanded, were often filled to capacity within  a few years (Room for the bicycle (Ruimte voor de fiets): a problematical success). Bicycle use as a means of reaching the train station has clearly grown enormously since 2000: Strong increase in bicycle travel to train station. The bicycle parking facilities are a factor in this - albeit not the most important. But this growth itself presents another difficult challenge. The ‘Ruimte voor de fiets’ programme has been extended by several years and budgets have been considerably increased.

The strong increase in the number of parked bicycles often causes major problems, particularly at central stations: there is often no room for sufficient parking on good locations – and ‘unauthorised’ parking of bicycles causes nuisance, annoyance and (sometimes) danger. Tow-away actions can therefore increasingly be observed at train stations: local authorities removing incorrectly or obnoxiously parked bicycles, wrecks and/or long-term unused bicycles. Legally and organisationally this is an awkward issue: Obnoxious, dangerous or simply incorrect: fuzzy borders in practice. Although comparable in organisational respects, a clearly distinct (because less debatable) issue is the removal of the numerous unused bicycles at train stations, regularly occupying up to 20% of parking capacity: Abandoned bicycle actions: essential but labour-intensive.

Despite this emphasis on the problems the numerous bicycles cause at train stations, more positive policies have lately been realised as well in the Netherlands: stations where parking cyclists are treated like VIPs. As witnessed by the large sunken and guarded parking immediately in front of the Groningen train station (Bicycle parking at the Groningen train station; a new approach! (Fietsparkeren bij station Groningen; Zo kan het ook!)). As well as the free guarded train parking in Zutphen (Free guarded NS parking facilities: new developments and opportunities for towns

Dirk Ligtermoet - Ligtermoet & Partners , Fietsverkeer nr 15, feb. 2007, pag 26-27.
2007 Implementation, organisation and use of the new Stadsbalkon (underground unguarded bicycle parking facility with monitoring) at Groningen Station as a model for the Netherlands.
Otto van Boggelen (Fietsberaad) BenoƮt Thijssen (Groen Licht Verkeersadviezen) , Fietsberaad
2008 Detailed study into bicycle parking problems near train stations in Haarlem, Leiden, Eindhoven and Nijmegen.
Dirk Ligtermoet , Fietsverkeer
2006 Article from Fietsverkeer about the first free guarded NS parking facility in Zutphen.
Ron Hendriks , Fietsverkeer 23
2009 Parking a bicycle free of charge in a beautiful storage facility, so no one is tempted to fix his bicycle to a lamppost in front of the train station. That is the ideal picture of NS Fiets. And many towns. But free of charge also costs money and the question is: who will pay for that? Often this comes down to local authorities.