Islington criticised over ‘rip-off’ bike hangar fees that cost more than a parking permit

The bike hangar in question in Stadbroke Road. Picture: Jenny Morgan

The bike hangar in question in Stadbroke Road. Picture: Jenny Morgan - Credit: Archant

Cyclists are complaining about the “rip off” £104 cost to rent a bike hangar in Islington – because it’s more than some car parking permits.

The town hall has been criticised for its charging more than neighbouring boroughs for the service. In Hackney, for instance, people pay £30, although that would double without the TfL grant that currently subsidises it.

One hangar, which takes up a traditional parking bay, can house six bikes. The council argues £2 a week is “good value” and that it does not make a profit from the scheme.

Cllr Claudia Webbe told cyclists in December the reason it could not reduce the cost in line with other boroughs was that Islington only received a fraction of the TfL funding they did, despite repeated requests for more.

She said she didn’t believe the “relative cost of car parking permits to bike hangars is an appropriate comparison” because “it is much cheaper for a local authority to provide and maintain an empty car parking space than a secure cycle parking facility.”

Green councillor Caroline Russell said people who cycle should not be charged more than those who drive

She added: “People feel ripped off by these prices, which are more than double what other boroughs charge.

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“The council budget is very tight but surely if Islington is a cycle-friendly borough, we don’t need to charge many times more to park a bike than a car?”

Speaking this week, Cllr Webbe told the Gazette: “Islington is a cycling-friendly borough that’s committed to making improvements, and we want to provide secure cycle parking for those who need it.

“We already offer almost 700 low-cost, secure, covered spaces for residents on our estates. We are placing more bike hangar units on the street to encourage cycling. This is a key priority in our cycling strategy.

“This follows a successful pilot, which attracted more than 600 to the waiting list. In order to meet demand and enable a faster roll-out we have chosen to run the bike hangar scheme in-house rather than wait for external funding to subsidise its costs.

“The scheme has proved incredibly popular and we are acquiring more units to satisfy demand. We are facing unprecedented pressures on our budgets, so the bike hangar scheme has to cover its costs.”