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Park-and-ride discount for cyclists scrapped because of abuse by drivers

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.”

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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