Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cycle Parking Problems at the Station

National Express have responded to my complaint that between them and the police they are quite happy to allow commuters bikes to be locked up for days or weeks if, thanks to their totally inadequate provision of cycle parking at the station, someone accidentally traps another bike when locking theirs up. The reply below is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

 I've tried several times to setup a meeting between local Councillors and someone in authority in the railway industry to discuss cycle parking and a wide range of issues of local interest such as the proposed second platform, the Chisholm Trail, Chesterton station etc, and keep getting fobbed off with 'public affairs' or 'customer service' people, and basically told they have no interest in engaging with locally elected representatives, and they show no signs of doing anything to respond to problems like the shambolic cycle parking arrangements - I would be fascinated to know who does make the decisions and how they can be influenced by someone elected - particularly important when so much public money and public interest is vested in the organisations they run.

Any suggestions as to how to embarrass them into action gratefully received...

"Thank you for your email received 18 December about the cycle parking facilities at Cambridge station.  I am sorry for the delay in this response, which is due to a large backlog of correspondence.

We are aware of the problems with cycle parking at Cambridge and are working together with Network Rail and local councils to find any suitable and realistic improvements which can be implemented.

I am sorry however, that you have found the policy of not removing cycles which have been locked together as a result of the possibility of this representing criminal damage.  I can appreciate that this is frustrating and I am sorry for any inconvenience that it has caused.

It is worth noting that we cannot accept liability for any damage or loss of bicycles left on station property, and this is advertised at the station.  In this regard, we are also not liable for bicycles becoming locked out of use by third parties, and this is something that the British Transport Police would need to deal with.  If they are unable to do so for the reasons you specified I regret that I cannot offer any other solution at present.

However, I have logged your comments for our management to review, and any changes to our policies will be implemented in the future where possible.

Once again, thank you for contacting us.

Yours sincerely,

Customer Relations Advisor
National Express"

1 comment:

Equinox said...

I bought a bike from the new shop at the top of the road - setting me back about £500 including accessories. I tried cycling to the station for my commute but gave up with the lack of space.

The thing is, local politicians of all colours have raised this issue on numerous occasions but to little effect.

For those of us who don't follow politics, what's the point of politicians in general if a local issue like this (that has a cross-party consensus) cannot be resolved and resolved quickly and effectively?

This is one of the big problems with "outsourcing." The private company delivering whatever service it has only has to deliver against a contract it has signed up to. Do the people who own and run the station have a financial interest in resolving the problem? Because if not, there's little incentive for the owners of the station and the land surrounding (who probably don't live and work locally) to do anything about it.