End Whitby motorcycle discrimination in the season of good will.

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) are calling for an end to discrimination against motorcycles at Whitby railway station.  In an open letter to the Chair of DfT OLR Holdings Ltd, the Government body running Northern Rail, MAG’s Chair, Neil Liversidge, has demanded an urgent reversal of policy.

Whitby motorcycle discrimination

Anger remains high over the recent move to ban motorcycle parking at Whitby station.  Northern Rail remain silent beyond template responses to calls for engagement.

Whitby station is operated by Northern Rail, a franchise taken into public control by the then Transport Minister, Grant Shapps. 

DfT OLR Holdings (DOHL) is the holding company established by the Department for Transport to act as operator of last resort for rail franchises that are nationalised.  MAG Chair, Neil Liversidge, has written an open letter to DOHL Chair, Richard George, demanding urgent action:

“to ensure that the decision to ban motorcycles from parking at Whitby station is reversed immediately, and commit to working with the Motorcycle Action Group to establish how the facilities at, not just Whitby but all, Northern operated stations can be improved for the benefit of those choosing to travel to those stations by motorcycle.”

In the letter, Neil refers to a near decade old publication by the Association of Train Operating Companies entitled ‘Motorcycle Parking at Rail Stations Guide’.  This publication explains:

“Although it is hard to place a financial value on encouraging the use of motorcycles in combination with rail journeys, when building a business case for providing motorcycle parking this should be seen as an essential part of managing parking demand and customer-facing service provision.”

The open letter, copied to the current Minister of State, Mark Harper, states:

“There are no dedicated motorcycle bays at the car park, tariffs do not state a rate for motorcycles and, until the introduction of the Ringo payment system, did not apply outside the hours 6am – 6pm.  It is hard to see any genuine justification for this heavy-handed action other than discrimination due to intolerance and disinterest in the needs of certain customers.”

Neil pointed to promises made by Richard George in 2020 to “transform services across Northern’s network, putting the needs of passengers first.” Neil wrote:

“You appear to have failed in delivering anything other than discrimination towards motorcyclists who are passengers.”

The York and North Yorkshire MAG group have vowed to organise demonstrations in the New Year if Northern rail continue to refuse engagement on the issue.


MAG’s Open Letter to DOHL here: https://wiki.mag-uk.org/images/3/3b/DfT_OLR_Holdings.pdf 

Association of Train Operating Companies “Motorcycle Parking at Rail Stations Guide” published in 2014 here:  https://www.raildeliverygroup.com/about-us/publications/archive/337-2014-04-motorcycle-parking-at-stations/file.html

2020 Announcement on Northern Rail here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/northern-franchise-enters-new-future