Boris Johnson adds his voice to 'Zero stars for Eurostar'
Alerted by CTC that the high-speed train provider is planning to change its current cycle carriage policy, ECF (European Cyclists’ Federation) criticised the move in a letter sent to Nicolas Petrovic, CEO of Eurostar, on Tuesday 13 October, which was signed by French, Belgian, German and Dutch cycling bodies. CTC was initially informed about this change in Eurostar policy by member, Joseph Banerjee.
Currently, cyclists can pay a £30 fee to take a complete bicycle on Eurostar via a registered luggage system. Under proposed changes, though, from 1 November cyclists will be forced to dismantle their cycle and box it up using the same service – a move CTC Chief Executive Paul Tuohy believes would treat them as “third-class passengers”.
On Wednesday 14 October, CTC therefore launched its multi-lingual “Zero stars for Eurostar” online action which invited supporters to write to Eurostar CEO Nicolas Petrovic and express their dismay at the proposed policy. In just over a day, more than 6,500 people used this tool, but despite the overwhelming public pressure, as reported in The Guardian, Eurostar intends “to press ahead with the change”.
It is a backward step which undermines Eurostar's green pretensions."
Boris Johnson MP, Mayor of London
Supporters of CTC’s action have taken to social media in multiple languages calling on the European train service provider to rethink and reverse its planned policy, with widespread coverage also appearing across national media.
Well-known cyclist Mayor of London Boris Johnson MP has now joined the 6,500 people disappointed with Eurostar’s proposed changes. The Mayor said: “I am writing to Eurostar asking them not to end their simple, effective bike carriage service used by thousands a year. It is a backward step which undermines Eurostar's green pretensions."
Eurostar is currently in its fourth year of sponsoring the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Travel, which celebrate pioneering travel initiatives in the UK, France and Belgium. At this year’s awards, Mr Petrovic said: “We hope that by celebrating the most innovative sustainable travel initiatives across the markets we operate in, we encourage more people to adopt environmentally friendly modes of transport, and really put sustainable travel in the spotlight.”
In reaction to this latest development, Sam Jones, CTC campaigner said:
“It’s great to hear champions for cycling such as the Mayor for London calling on Eurostar to reverse its ill-considered cycle-carriage policy.
“Hopefully, while Eurostar hasn’t been moved yet by the widespread public outcry to its proposed policy, it will take serious note of the concerns expressed by a leading UK politician. CTC hopes Eurostar will engage with organisations like ourselves to find a solution which will work for everyone.”
If you feel Eurostar should reconsider their cycle-carriage policy, please write to them via CTC’s easy to use online tool.