Key-operated bike lockers installed at Durham bus station five years ago have never been used for their intended purpose because council officials have never succeeded in devising a way of managing them.
The situation came to light when a cyclist asked how he could gain access to one of the four lockers, which together cost £850 and were installed as part of a £500,000 revamp in 2006, reports the Northern Echo.
Andy Leadbeater, Durham County Council’s business manager for passenger transport, said in a statement: “These lockers were installed because we wanted to provide a secure storage facility and they were considered the best option at the time.
“Unfortunately management of the locker keys has proven difficult and despite looking at a number of solutions we have been unable to solve this problem.”
As some people making comments to the article point out, similar facilities elsewhere seem to operate smoothly without undue drama, making it a mystery as to why the council didn’t contact operators of other such schemes.
A few seconds on Google returned results including an FAQ from Network West Midlands about how bike lockers are administered at rail and bus stations in the region.
Others suggest increased provision of cycle racks on buses as something that would mean cyclists wouldn't have to leave their bikes at a bus station in the first place.
The council is now planning to move the lockers elsewhere, while bike stands will be erected at the bus station.
“We are hoping to relocate the lockers to somewhere where they are easier to manage and are also looking to install more conventional cycle stands at the bus station,” said Mr Leadbetter.
The Northern Echo said that it had seen an email from a council travel planning team leader who had said that the issue was “perhaps not as simple as it first appears,” although the newspaper did not report what any potential complications might be.
The bus station had been bought by Durham County Council from bus firm Arriva in 2005.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.