AT last week’s national cycle-rail awards, Merseyrail was named the winner in the operator of the year category for Bike & Go, the UK’s first major station cycle hire programme. The company was also highly recommended in the cycle security category.Merseyrail manages Bike & Go, the nationwide cycle scheme that offers rail passengers the opportunity to complete the final phase of their journey by bike. Launched in 2013, it is now available on four rail networks: Greater Anglia, Northern Rail and ScotRail, as well as Merseyrail. It is modelled on the Dutch Railways OV-fiets station cycle hire concept and is currently available at 60 stations across these networks, 20 of which are on Merseyrail.The judges commented: ‘The secure cycle storage and the Bike & Go bike hire scheme play an integral part in the customers’ journey and provide a seamless door-to-door journey. With these facilities, Merseyrail is a forward-thinking Operating Company, making more destinations accessible by train, meaning the bike provides added value to the train operator.’Secure cycle facilities were introduced at a handful of stations in 2010. Today, there are more than 2,000 secure cycle spaces on the network, and in the near future, all stations will have them. Units are under cover, have CCTV and are free of charge.Kaj Mook, customer service director at Merseyrail, commented: ‘Integrated transport is all about having an ambitious, long-term vision, being strategic as well as focused on continuous improvement, and it’s great that the panel recognised this in Merseyrail. We are delighted to win this award, and I‘d like to thank all the various organisations involved who continue to support Bike & Go and help us improve cycle storage facilities on the network.’Cllr Liam Robinson, chair of Merseytravel added: ‘Making Merseyside’s public transport network integrated and accessible to all is one of our main aims. Bike & Go is a great example of this, playing an important part in increasing the use of cycling across the city region.’The national cycle-rail awards, run by the Association of Train Operating Companies, recognise progress made by the rail industry and associated organisations to encourage the integrated use of bikes and train travel.