Southern donating bikes abandoned at stations to key workers

Southern Rail are teaming up with a cycle repair company to donate bikes abandoned at their stations.

The operator said they’re working with Handlebars to get some of the unclaimed bikes to NHS and essential workers.

Around 20 bicycles a month arrive at Southern’s maintenance depot in Horsham for storage, in case their owners decide to recover them.

The stock of unclaimed cycles is now more than 270.

Govia Thamelink Railway (GTR) discovered London-based Handlebars, who have a campaign to repair donated bikes and redistribute them to key workers via social media.

They work for free and use crowdfunding to buy spare parts.

Their mechanic, Andre Noble, visited the depot to grade all of the bikes and collect their first batch of ten to bring back to life.

Andre said:

“Southern saw our campaign and reached out to offer support. When they mentioned how many bikes are abandoned at stations we were shocked!

“We have seen a tonne of bikes in various conditions and we’re happy to help identify problems with the bikes at GTR.

“Only the safe ones will go out to key workers and the rest will need a bit of love first!

“It was a pleasure to meet Rob at the Horsham depot and we at Handlebars are looking forward to working together in the future.”

Other projects are also underway to renovate the bikes for essential workers involving local NHS Trusts, West Sussex County Council, and Horsham District Council.

Angie Doll, MD for Southern and Gatwick Express, said:

“We are going the extra mile to help key workers go their final mile – or more – from their station to their place of work, or to travel all the way to and from work by bike if convenient.

“If you have to travel, cycling at least part of your journey is a great way to keep fit and keep your social distance.

“Many thanks are due to Handlebars for providing their essential expertise free of charge, and to our facilities and community relations teams for making this happen.

“Partnering with Handlebars is part of a bigger proactive plan to use these unwanted bikes to promote safe, sustainable travel.

“We are also asking local councils, NHS trusts and hospitals if they know of any demand among their medical staff, care and social workers, and others on the front line, for free bicycles.

“It would reduce our bike mountain further, and help more key workers stay fit and healthy.

“As key workers ourselves, we’re proud to be supporting everyone who still needs to travel.

“Now, more than ever, is a time to offer a helping hand where we can and support our local communities and key worker heroes.”

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