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“A car parking permit is cheaper!” Cyclists slam “shameful” council for cutting bike hangar subsidy – as prices set to rise six-fold

“For all the cycle lanes and LTNs to encourage people like me to cycle, and then raise the price, I can’t afford it frankly,” one cyclist said, after Cyclehoop announced that the price of storing a bike in its hangars will rise from £12 to £72 a year

Cyclists in the London Borough of Enfield have slammed the local council’s decision to cut its subsidy for the town’s cycle hangars, which will see the annual price of storing a bike in one of the secure storage units rise six-fold from £12 to £72.

In an email sent to all subscribers, Cyclehoop – the company that runs the bike storage scheme on behalf of Enfield Council – blamed the local authority for the price hike, which will bring the cost of using a bike hangar in Enfield in line with other London boroughs such as Richmond-upon-Thames and Kensington and Chelsea.

However, from May cyclists in Enfield will have to pay double the subscription cost of other Cyclehoop hangar users in Camden and Haringey, where the units cost £36 a year.

“We are writing to advise you that the annual cost of Cyclehoop Bikehanger subscriptions in Enfield is changing from 1st May,” Cyclehoop told subscribers in Enfield.

“The London borough of Enfield currently subsidises all bike hangar subscriptions for residents of the borough, however, as a result of a change in the subsidy provided to Cyclehoop from the local authority, your subscription will be increasing, and the new cost of an annual subscription will be £72 per year.”

> “So many people are put off cycling by the threat of having their bike stolen”: Bike theft victims call for more secure cycle hangars as demand soars

The price hike has been roundly condemned by local cyclists, who rely on the outdoor storage units to safely secure their bikes due to a lack of space in their properties, and who described the six-fold rise as “unfair” and “shameful” on the part of the council.

“The price hike is so absurd. From £12 to £72 a year – really? If I had a car the parking permit is cheaper!” Enfield resident Claire Freston told the Enfield Dispatch.

“Shame on Enfield Council. For all the cycle lanes and LTNs to encourage people like me to cycle, and then raise the price, I can’t afford it frankly.

“It won’t deter me from cycling but it will make keeping my bike in my house – in the hallway for all of us to trip over day and night – really annoying to be honest.”

Another Cyclehoop user, George Andruszkiewicz, added: “This is unfair on people who cannot afford such increases, it penalises cyclists – especially those who live in flats – it is counterproductive to the borough’s green agenda, and makes me wonder what other ‘initiatives’ are being prepared to increase fees for local services.”

> Brighton & Hove City Council rejects Tory demand for five-fold increase in cycle hangar fees

Responding to the complaints, an Enfield Council spokesperson said: “The council has installed cycle parking across the borough at train stations, in town centres, and over 100 cycle hangers on residential streets as one part of our efforts to encourage cycling in Enfield.

“The new fee covers the full cost of maintaining the hangers after a few years of council-subsidised rates while they were being introduced and were grant-funded. The new fees are benchmarked and are similar to other London boroughs.

“Ensuring the council’s costs of maintaining the cycle hangers are fully covered will ensure we can roll out even more much-loved cycle hangers across the borough, with another seven planned for installation over the coming months.”

> Subsidise bike hangar costs by raising car parking charges, says councillor – but opponent warns move would “pit drivers against cyclists”

Enfield’s Cyclehoop price hike isn’t the first row to emerge over the cost of bike storage in recent months.

In February, Brighton and Hove City Council rejected a call from Conservative councillors to increase the cost of using bike hangars in the city – a controversial topic after a range of protests from local motorists – five-hold from £1 to £5 a week.

Conservative councillors had claimed that a £125,000 subsidy set aside in the Labour-controlled council’s budget for Falco, the company behind the hangars, to maintain them would be better spent on frontline services and that people allocated spaces within them to park their bikes should pay more.

But Labour’s Trevor Muten, chair of the council’s Transport and Sustainability Committee, said that the hangars perform a valuable function and that the cost of using them would not be reviewed.

“As a city with a high number of flats and many people without access to private garden or cycle space, the hangars have been crucial in providing a convenient, safe and affordable space for bikes,” he said.

“Affordability was factored in when the cycle hangar project was introduced and we have no current plans to review the cost paid by residents for hangar spaces.

“We realise that, in some areas of the city, the introduction of any more cycle hangars needs to be balanced with the availability of parking space and this will factor into our parking review process.”

And last May, councillors in Edinburgh raised concerns about the cost of using a bike hangar in the Scottish capital – which in some cases is up to three times as expensive as a 12-month car parking permit – an annual price some described as prohibitive for people on lower incomes.

However, calls to subsidise the £6-a-month bike hangar costs by raising parking charges, especially for the most polluting vehicles, were criticised by opposition councillors for potentially “pitting drivers against cyclists”.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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24 comments

Avatar
Car Delenda Est | 1 month ago
2 likes

1) start car club made exclusively of old vans
2) install Sheffield stands in vans
3) siphon out petrol, change the locks on the doors to be keyed differently to the engine, and install GPS trackers in vans.

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mattw | 1 month ago
4 likes

I suggest that the "asks" we need here are:

1 - Parking services - motor vehicles, cycles, mobility aids - to be run as a joint service offering the same service to citizens who need it.

If Granny Smith needs somewhere to park her mobility scooter because she lives in a first floor flat in a terraced house, that should get exactly the same priority - and arguably more - as a vehicle driver.

2 - Parking permits and facilities should cover their costs as an overall service, and that principle be applied to mode-based services on a cost-per-area of public space occupied plus maintenance and work required.

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IanGlasgow replied to mattw | 1 month ago
9 likes

Where I am in Glasgow it's £72/year for a space in a bike hangar. £85/year for a car.
You can get 6 bikes in the bike hangar, some of which take up a single car parking space (others are in areas where cars were never allowed to park).
That means 1 bike each for my family of 4 would be £288. The entire hangar takes 6 bikes - that's £432 or more than 5 times the cost of a single car parking permit.
The nearest hangar to my flat is half a mile away, but there's a waiting list to get a space. The nearest a space is about a 30min walk away.
Meanwhile I paid £85/year for our car (until I got rid of it a few months ago) and could usually park in my street, occasionally I had to go to the next street.
Luckily I live in a basement flat, can carry bikes up and down the 1/2 flight of steps to our front door (though my partner can't) and have somewhere to store them. Most people around here live on the first floor or above and have to go through a stair. If you keep the bike in the stair it's likely to be stolen as mine was when I lived in a 3rd floor flat (hitting Victorian cast iron banisters with a hammer shatters them). Or if a neighbour complains the fire brigade will declare them a hazard and you'll have to move them.
If we really want people living in cities to give up their cars, we need to do better than this.

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chrisonabike replied to IanGlasgow | 1 month ago
0 likes

Exactly.

Bikes now live in my flat as I discovered the "secure cycle storage" is for keeping the thieves dry while they steal bikes at leisure.

Lift has been out of service for months.  Luckily I only live a few floors up.  Some folks are on the 9th floor.

In the centre of Edinburgh there are an awful lot of (old) buildings of 4 or 5 stories, mostly just with stairs.

I suspect that the pragmatic Dutch solution to cycle parking for older buildings would not be simple to implement here for a variety of reasons (e.g. change of use).  I do think (if only the cycling infra keeps improving) people would be prepared to pay a reasonable sum though.

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brooksby | 1 month ago
2 likes

How much are the (car) parking permits? £1.50 a week for secure bike parking isn't so bad is it? Yet if the parking permits are even cheaper than that...?

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Rendel Harris replied to brooksby | 1 month ago
9 likes

brooksby wrote:

How much are the (car) parking permits? £1.50 a week for secure bike parking isn't so bad is it? Yet if the parking permits are even cheaper than that...?

£38.50 for an electric car or one below 1000cc, so bicycles, the ultimate low emissions vehicles, are paying nearly twice that, and six of them in one space, so £432 to use a space that a car can have for 8% of the price!

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brooksby replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
2 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

brooksby wrote:

How much are the (car) parking permits? £1.50 a week for secure bike parking isn't so bad is it? Yet if the parking permits are even cheaper than that...?

£38.50 for an electric car or one below 1000cc, so bicycles, the ultimate low emissions vehicles, are paying nearly twice that, and six of them in one space, so £432 to use a space that a car can have for 8% of the price!

Okay thanks: that is really unfair and annoying surprise

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chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 1 month ago
2 likes

Yep - as usual we should note that we'll get what we pay for. If we choose to subsidise cars, we'll get cars.

Presumably councils will say "it's scale, stoopid - because there aren't many of them parking for bicycles will of course be more expensive..."

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ChurchillR | 1 month ago
6 likes

A bike hangar takes up less footprint than a car. So individuals or cycling groups should be allowed to buy a bike hangar of their own, bolt it to the ground in a parking space, and pay one annual parking charge for the hangar and all the bikes in it.

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Rendel Harris replied to ChurchillR | 1 month ago
1 like

ChurchillR wrote:

A bike hangar takes up less footprint than a car. So individuals or cycling groups should be allowed to buy a bike hangar of their own, bolt it to the ground in a parking space, and pay one annual parking charge for the hangar and all the bikes in it.

It's a nice idea and I would thoroughly approve of it in principle but of course a parking permit does not guarantee you a parking space whereas a bike hangar would be permanent, so motorists would say (with some justification, it pains me to say) that if cyclists are guaranteed their own fixed space in return for a parking permit, why aren't they?

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mattw replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
1 like

A resident's car parking permit effectively *does* guarantee a space.

If not, then too many permits have been issued.

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Rendel Harris replied to mattw | 1 month ago
1 like

mattw wrote:

A resident's car parking permit effectively *does* guarantee a space.

If not, then too many permits have been issued.

Yes, in the sense of somewhere to park but only somewhere within the zone, when we had a car in our CPZ we still had sometimes to park a couple of streets away on days like Easter Sunday when loads of guest passes were bought for visiting family etc; not the same as cyclists having a hangar knowing exactly where they will park every time.

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John Chisholm | 1 month ago
6 likes

So the actual issue here is the cost of these hangars has always been 72 quid a year but council have subsidised by about 75%.
I have 4 questions....
How much are these units to buy? (Cyclehoop seem reluctant to tell you unless you let them send you marketing materials)
How much are they to install? (As above comment)
How much "servicing" do they require?

Point being, surely after 2 to 3 years, the actual thing is paid off, yet you continue to pay full whack.

If you buy a mobile phone on contract, it's paid in 3 years then you pay only the call part of contract.

So surely they should only be paying g the servicing now?

6 bikes in there, x £72 a year seems steep for some oil on hinges imo.

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP replied to John Chisholm | 1 month ago
0 likes

The hinges don't need oiling - they are hydraulic. 
the cost of the hangar plus installation will depend on the contract the Borough has with the contractor.  
to install the hangars the Borough will employ engineers to make drawings and site visits. There may also be a statutory consultation and a Traffic Management Order will be published. So here are other costs. 
 

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Rendel Harris replied to John Chisholm | 1 month ago
7 likes

According to the GLA, in London the total cost is around £6000, including purchase, installation, consultation, planning etc. I think the servicing can come to a bit more than some oil on hinges, at least in my neighbourhood there is occasional vandalism that needs repairing and damage from attempted theft and being hit by cars (at least two in the last year have been written off by car strikes). So it would take over a decade for £72 a year times six to be paid off, without maintenance. However the question is surely not whether the cost is reasonable but why it shouldn't be subsidised just as cars are. My mother's road was recently resurfaced at a cost (I would estimate, on the basis of figures quoted online of £20 per square metre) of about £40,000; the residents are not obliged to pay for parking permits and I'm sure they would have been outraged if they were asked for several hundred pounds to cover the cost of the patch of tarmac on which they get to store their private property for nothing.

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IanGlasgow replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
10 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

... and being hit by cars (at least two in the last year have been written off by car strikes).

If cars had number plates so you could identify them and drivers were forced to have insurance, this wouldn't be a problem.

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Rendel Harris replied to IanGlasgow | 1 month ago
3 likes

IanGlasgow wrote:

Rendel Harris wrote:

... and being hit by cars (at least two in the last year have been written off by car strikes).

If cars had number plates so you could identify them and drivers were forced to have insurance, this wouldn't be a problem.

One presumably had to pay up as she left her car embedded in the shelter (my video of it was on here a while ago) but the other was a middle-of-the-night hit and run, so unless you have a CCTV camera for every shelter...

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Oldfatgit replied to John Chisholm | 1 month ago
1 like

I would have thought that as a semi permanent structure fixed to the Public Highway for private use, there would be an element of ground rent as well as install / maintenance costs.

As I understand it, there are councils that charge for residential parking permits ... which are also, in effect, a ground rent to be able to park the car in that area.

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mctrials23 replied to John Chisholm | 1 month ago
0 likes

Its a business. They are trying to make money no? Yes its probably paid off in material costs and installation after a few years but they have to pay wages, maintenance costs etc

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mattw | 1 month ago
2 likes

It's a matter of justicr / ewulity - nopt subsidy.

This differential cost won't survive for long once they are faced with Equality Act 2010 requirements for .. well .. equality, and it is followed up by some legal actions.

Parking services for people who cannot drive are required to be the same as those who can drive; noty to do so is secondary disrimination against people (elderly, disabled) who cannot have driving licences and use mobility aids, since more in those groups cannot have them aompared to the general population.

 

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Spangly Shiny replied to mattw | 1 month ago
0 likes

You wanna run that one through your spellchecker maybe. Englsh words by and large but no sensible meaning.

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John Chisholm replied to Spangly Shiny | 1 month ago
1 like

I mean, I totally didn't understand the point being made because of typos!

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Oldfatgit replied to John Chisholm | 1 month ago
1 like

Do you not?

It's not difficult to read, and the point is easy to understand.

Weighing in on someone's spelling is a sign that you .. the reader .. lacks the intelligence to be able to understand information as presented.

That's as *you* problem.

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Hirsute replied to Oldfatgit | 1 month ago
1 like

Pretty sure the post was a sarcastic reply to spangly shiny.

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