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How the use of transfer services helped boost the local economy and attract more cyclists in Northumberland

30.01.2018
© Saddle Skedaddle

In the early 2000’s, Saddle Skedaddle, a cycling holidays company located in the county of Northumberland in North-East England wanted to expand its business. With most of the cycle and walking routes being linear in the region, and as there were limited public-transport options, the transfer of luggage and people was highly needed. To attract more cyclists, the tour operator therefore needed to cooperate with the taxi companies.

At that time, the few taxis companies in the region competed with each other and were doing small jobs. The cost was not only high for them but also for the customers. To maximise their passengers and luggage volume, the taxi companies made an informal arrangement and started working together.

If a taxi company receives a customer inquiry and is not able to provide the full service requested, another company will be asked to help. A fee for the transportation of luggage or people will be charged by the company that is helping. This collaboration ensures a fair price for both parties, and thanks to a better-quality service, more people were encouraged to travel to the region.

All the businesses have grown since then, and there are now more than eight cycle routes in Northumberland, one of them being the busiest in England. Most of the taxi companies are able to carry up to 20 bikes at a time, in special trailers, carriers and bike racks. The price will depend on the number of customers, what they carry and for how long. The taxi companies are quite flexible when it comes to the distance. They cover an area of more than 500 square kilometers.

 © Saddle Skedaddle

© Saddle Skedaddle

A list of the companies providing transfer of luggage or people can be found on the not-for-profit website cyclenorthumberland, created by Graham Vickers. Maps, guidebooks and regional information can also be found there. If a cyclist books a cycle holiday, it will be a company like Saddle Skedaddle that will take care of the on-site transport.

Most of the taxi companies will only advertise their services between the Easter period and October. It is however possible to call them for bicycle-transfer purposes during the low season as well, as they are professional taxi drivers that work all year.

It is estimated that approximately 10% of the people cycling in the region use this service to reach the starting point of their cycle route, such as a train station or airport. A new mountain road for bikes was created two years ago, and 25% of the about 3,000 people cycling there every year use the transfer offers.

The use of taxis has played a big part in attracting cyclists over the years and boosting the local economy in the county of Northumberland. By working together rather than competing against each other, all the businesses have been able to grow and meet the cyclists’ needs.

 

 © Saddle Skedaddle

© Saddle Skedaddle