A rail commuter has expressed his frustration at being unable to use a secure double-decker bike parking facility that opened last year at his local station – despite the fact that it is often only half-full.
Antony Harvey commutes from Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, and told road.cc that up until last year, free bike parking was provided and was always “pretty crowded.”
In November, station operator Greater Anglia – the franchise is run by Abellio, the international business of Dutch national rail operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen – opened a new secure parking facility.
Users are required to obtain a fob to gain access, in return for a cash deposit of £25. Antony admits that “I was slow off the mark getting a fob largely because I was going through a period of working from home,” but when he went to the station a week later to obtain a fob, he was told all 200 had been distributed.
A further 30 were subsequently allocated, and Antony is now on a waiting list to obtain his own fob, with no news of when one might become available.
He told us: “I was pretty shocked about this as the facility is never more than two thirds full, usually close to half full,” attaching pictures taken at 11:30am last Friday.
“There is a tiny free bike parking facility but it's always completely rammed, never a space by the time I get there,” he went on. “Also, I want to park in the empty secure spaces I can see. I'm happy to pay!”
He tweeted his local MP, Mark Prisk, who replied: "clearly greater Anglia need to rethink this."
Antony added: “I just think it's really frustrating. Cycling is important for so many reasons as we all know and I feel that as part of a proper integrated transport system we should be encouraging people to cycle rather than drive to train stations.
“The great irony is that the new facility, which is a very good facility, isn't getting the amount of use it deserves,” he concluded.
Last November, Greater Anglia won three categories at the National Cycle Rail Awards, including one for Best Customer Service – with the judges noting the increase in cycle parking at a number of stations on its network, as well as its “customer-focused approach.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.