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Bike lockers at Durham Bus Station unused for 5 years - because council can't devise a way of operating them

Managing locker keys proves "difficult," says council...

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.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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1961BikiE | 12 years ago

So they bought the lockers before considering how to manage them? Or even tendering for lockers with a proven key management system?

Key left in lock when no bike in, open door, insert bike, insert £X in lock mechanism, shut door and lock, extract key and take with you. Return with key, insert in lock, withdraw bike. Is it any harder than that really?

joemmo | 12 years ago

they should ask Nexus, the company who run the bus and Metro just up the road from them on Tyneside how they manage this herculean task. There a 6 lockers at my local suburban station, all in use from what I've seen.

a.jumper | 12 years ago

Is Durham county council's motto "Gormless and inept"?

JohnS | 12 years ago

Britain's railways seemed to manage left-luggage lockers perfectly well for many years before they got all paranoid about bombs, and in Mainland Europe they still exist at many stations.

Same technology with a bigger box, surely?

I diagnose a lack of will on the part of Durham County Council.

Simon E replied to JohnS | 12 years ago
JohnS wrote:

I diagnose a lack of will on the part of Durham County Council.


If it had been dedicated parking spaces for Councillors to save their weary legs it would have been sorted within weeks.

JC | 12 years ago

Give me the keys - I'll sort it out
How hard could it be...  7

step-hent | 12 years ago

Local authority in 'Couldnt Organise P*** Up In Brewery' shocker. Oh well.

Interesting that people are suggesting there should be provision for bikes to be carried on buses. Are those local buses, or national/longer-distance ones? I can't really see the point of bike racks on local buses - surely it is easier/faster to ride than go on the bus? But then I guess the same point applies to bike racks in a local bus station....

cat1commuter | 12 years ago

Four? Space for four bikes? Not really a major facility!

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