Abellio Greater Anglia (AGA), who run Ely station, are about to tender for provision of a Cycle Point at the station, which is due to be constructed by March 2015. They are tendering at the same time for a Cycle Point to be provided at Norwich station. One Cycle Point is currently in existence, provided at Leeds station by AGA’s sister company Northern Rail details here. Ely Cycling Campaign has recently received copies of the tender documents.
The essence of the Ely Cycle Point is to provide retail cycle maintenance and sales, cycle hire, and cycle parking, in the form both of paid-for ‘premium’ parking – in locked compounds to which only those paying for ‘premium’ parking will have access – and free parking.
The Cycle Point will be located in part of the station building, in what is currently retail space in the old Rosie and Dolly, to the left of the station entrance as one approaches from the city. The premium paid-for parking will be adjacent to and behind the building (between the building and the platform). The free parking will be partly at the front of the building, near where some cycle racks are currently, and partly (the majority) at the far end of the station building, between the end of the building and the embankment of the A142 underpass. The cycle parking currently on platform 1 will be removed once the Cycle Point is established.
The tender documents provide for 210 free cycle parking spaces, mostly in covered two-tier racks, of the type which now exist in large numbers at Cambridge station. There will also be some single-level free parking using Sheffield stands (though this will be a small part of the total). There will be either 150 or 200 premium paid-for cycle parking spaces (the tender documents seem to be inconsistent about this figure).
There are about 180 free cycle parking spaces currently on platform one, and a handful outside the station, so the new provision will represent a slight increase in the number of free spaces.
The initial charges for the premium parking will be: daily ticket £1.00 (available only during staffed hours); weekly ticket (Monday to Sunday only) £4.00; monthly ticket £12.00 per calendar month; annual ticket £99.00; with a £10.00 refundable deposit for the access swipe card.
We understand, though this is not part of the tender documents, that there are also plans to increase the size of the Ely station ticket hall, and to provide further doors into and out of the ticket hall – changes which are badly needed and long overdue.
The tender process is to a tight timescale, which is linked to the availability of external funding for the project, and we do not know how much can now be changed.
We have a number of questions about the tender documents, which we have sent to AGA. We think that the proportion of premium paid-for cycle parking spaces to free spaces is probably wrong, and that there should be proportionately more free spaces and proportionately fewer premium ones. We have asked if this can be considered (the point was made by a number of those attending the AGA cycle forum in late July 2014).
AGA also operates ‘secure’ parking at other locations, which involves parking in a secure cage, a key to which is obtained by a refundable deposit of £25, but which is otherwise free. This seems very desirable, and we have asked whether some of the premium parking could be replaced by parking in this ‘secure’ form. We are also concerned that the free parking located at the end of the station building may be rather secluded, giving rise to an increased risk of theft (the tender document suggests that the free parking would be covered by CCTV). We have asked AGA whether all of the free parking could be located at the front of the station building, if necessary by removing car-parking spaces there, and replacing them with car-parking spaces in the area currently designed for free cycle parking.