Passenger with bike ordered off train

Passenger with bike ordered off train

Last updated 06:14 01/08/2012
Huck Haeata
Huck Haeata tried to board a Matangi train from Lower Hutt to Wellington.
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A commuter train was halted for 15 minutes as two police officers threatened to arrest a passenger because she'd taken her bike with her.

Huck Haeata tried to board a Matangi train from Lower Hutt to Wellington just before 9am yesterday when she was told by staff that she could not take her road bike on the peak-hour service.

She refused to get off, saying she would not cycle on the main highway because it was dangerous.

Although the train departed with Ms Haeata - and her bike - still on board, it stopped for about 15 minutes at Petone station and police were called to escort her off because staff said she was blocking the doorway with her bike.

Two officers came into the carriage and told her to get off the train or she would risk being arrested for disorderly behaviour.

"And then they forced me off the train," she said. "One of the officers gave me an extra little shove, which was really unnecessary."

Ms Haeata, of Lower Hutt, said the rules around bikes on trains were unclear. Train staff told her that prams and wheelchairs were allowed during peak services, but bicycles were not.

Ms Haeata, who is a student at the New Zealand Institute of Sport, said she would not have made a fuss if the rules were clearly signposted to passengers.

"I thought it was overkill. If I cared what people thought, I would have been humiliated."

KiwiRail spokeswoman Sophie Lee said bikes were specifically excluded from the Matangi service that Ms Haeata was on because it was during the morning peak period.

Calling in police was considered reasonable if a passenger was causing safety concerns.

"If staff feel that passenger or staff safety is threatened, then police could be called. I understand it was quite a full train and the passenger was blocking access to the doorway with the bike."

Ms Haeata said she wanted it clarified whether police had a right to physically remove someone from a train based on a train company's policy, and would be seeking the video footage of the incident.

"I want to know if they have jurisdiction to drag people off trains - if it's a rule, rather than a law. That's what I want to clarify."

Hutt Valley area commander Inspector Mike Hill said he would be happy to speak to Ms Haeata about the incident.

The rules

  • Compact, fully folding bikes are allowed at all times on all trains if they are folded down before boarding.
  • Bikes are allowed on a first come, first served basis on non- peak services, but not on buses replacing trains, or trains set aside for events.
  • On Matangi trains, a maximum of three bikes will be carried in each two-car set, and must be secured in the designated area without blocking doors or aisles.
  • GanzMavag trains can take two bikes in every two-car set and must be stored in the train's dog box by staff.
  • All bikes are excluded from select Matangi peak services into Wellington in the morning, and leaving in the evening.

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Contact Kerry McBride
Metro and Capital Day reporter
Twitter: @kerry_mcbride

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- The Dominion Post

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