Cyclists in Cambridge have expressed fears that they will have to pay to park their bikes at the £2.5 million CyclePoint planned for the city’s railway station that was announced earlier this week, although a spokeswoman for station operator Greater Anglia has said there are “no current plans to charge for cycling parking,” reports Cambridge News.
Dutch company Abellio took over operation of the Greater Anglia franchise last month and has confirmed that the CyclePoint in Cambridge will be based on one in Leeds which is managed by Northern Rail, which it also owns, and operated by Evans Cycles. That facility opened in 2010, and full details of it can be found in this brochure.
Cyclists leaving their bikes at the CCTV-monitored double-deck racks at the building adjacent to Leeds station, where there is parking for 300 bicycles, pay £1 a day, with monthly season tickets available for £15 or annual ones for £120. For someone commuting every weekday, the latter would equate to around 50p a day.
The facility is open from 6am to midnight daily, and staffed between 7am and 7pm on weekdays and 10am to 6pm at weekends. Outside those hours, only registered monthly and annual season ticket holders are able to access the CyclePoint, using a swipe card.
It is not known whether similar restrictions would operate at Cambridge, although the fact that it will provide parking for ten times as many bikes as in Leeds suggests that the set-up may be different.
The issue of under-provision of cycle parking at Cambridge station has long been a subject of controversy, and while that was already due to be addressed as part of the cb1 development, that is not due to be completed until 2020 and last September Cambridge Cycling Campaign launched an online petition asking that urgent action be take to remedy the situation.
The announcement of the CyclePoint will provide a solution to the problem, although no details of when it will be completed have been announced yet. However, the fact that cyclists are charged in Leeds that has given rise to concerns that those in Cambridge, which has the highest levels of cycling in Britain, will have to do likewise despite Greater Anglia’s assurances that they will not be charged.
One local cyclist, Shaun Noble from Petersfield who cycles to the station on three or four occasions each week described the prospect of cyclists being charged to park their bikes as “outrageous.”
Mr Noble told Cambridge News: “It’s greedy developers hitting eco-friendly travellers. The people who park at the station are hard-pressed commuters who are already paying fares way above inflation to travel to London and other places.”
He added: “People would be tying their bikes up outside this charging area so there would be even more congestion at cycle stands outside the station.”
Cambridge taxi driver Adrian Maltby, who last November complained to station staff about bicycles blocking a disabled access ramp, said there was no reason cyclists shouldn’t have to pay to park their bikes, but agreed with Mr Noble that introducing charges would lead to many simply leaving them elsewhere.
Mr Maltby said: “Everyone else has to pay to park so why shouldn’t they? I don’t think it could be enforced though, because people would just park elsewhere.”
Robin Heydon from Cambridge Cycling Campaign said that while paid parking might appeal to those with costly bicycles, most cycle parking needed to be provided free of charge.
“Our request would be for the majority of cycle parking to be free because the benefit is there for the railway operator to have all these people arriving at the station and having somewhere to park bicycles,” he explained.
Sven Töpel, chief executive of cb1 developer Brookgate, commented: “We will continue to work closely with Greater Anglia, Department for Transport, Network Rail, city and county councils and very much welcome their support for our scheme, as we feel this will be a great improvement for Cambridge.”
Greater Anglia’s managing director, Ruud Haket, added: “We are proud to be in the vanguard of train operators pioneering schemes such as new, state-of-the-art CyclePoints for our customers.”
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