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Dodgy Norwich motorists pretend to be riders to get cheap fares

Norfolk County Council is considering ending a park and ride bus discount scheme for cyclists because motorists are falsely claiming to be cyclists to get cheaper fares.

The Norwich park and ride scheme offers heavily discounted tickets for cyclists, with a return ticket costing  £1.10, instead of the usual £2.10 or £2.40.

But the council plans to scrap the discount as part of raft of changes including the introduction of an Oyster-style smart card system, the BBC reports.

Abuse of the scheme by motorists is also a factor. In a letter to cyclists, the council said: “Sadly we’ve found a small but consistent abuse of this ticket with more people claiming the reduced fare than cycles left on the site.”

The council hopes to implement some sort of “technical solution” to overcome the problem and re-introduce the cyclists’ discount.

Cyclist Helen Carolan, 34, who uses the Sprowston site every weekday, said: “It’s extremely unfair.

“We’re getting penalised for other people’s dishonesty.”

Tracy Jessop, the council’s assistant director for travel and transport services, said: “Sadly, some persistent fare dodgers have caused us to take the action to remove the cycle fare temporarily but we are confident that we will be able to link the new smart cards with cycle racks to provide a solution.”

We would like to be able to support genuine cyclists to continue to travel sustainably but need them to work with us to achieve this.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

6 comments

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 4 years ago
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Seriously? This ...

Quote:

with more people claiming the reduced fare than cycles left on the site.

... is the sum total of their evidence about fare abuse?

Have they never heard of folding bikes?

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armb [128 posts] 4 years ago
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I think it's fair to assume the bus drivers would notice if passengers were bringing significant numbers of folding bikes on. But if it's like Cambridge P&R, what's the point? If you have a bike, why not use it, instead of getting a bus?

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nivagh [58 posts] 4 years ago
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"...what's the point? If you have a bike, why not use it, instead of getting a bus?"

This.

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a.jumper [850 posts] 4 years ago
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Norwich isn't Cambridge and its park and ride is miles away from the centre along undulating roads with parts not having cycle lanes. Given that the local buses are dominated by First Eastern Counties, I wouldn't be sure the drivers notice anything.

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Al__S [1267 posts] 4 years ago
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There's a lot of people that'll happily cycle three to five miles that won't consider 7-10 for a commute- especially if the addtional distance is down hostile roads. Cycling from somewhere with no bus service to a P&R site makes a lot of sense for them.

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Pierre [102 posts] 4 years ago
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Quote:

“Sadly we’ve found a small but consistent abuse of this ticket..."

So the _small_ amount of abuse is enough to penalise all cyclists? Sounds a bit like "we thought we could get away with this nod to cycling, but we didn't realise there would be so many cyclists and we want to make more money."