Wednesday 5 June 2024

TFGM's Abandoned Bike Hubs

Not sure whether the TFGM Cycle Hubs themselves have been abandoned, or whether they mostly contain abandoned bikes these days, but the situation I found in Bury and Bolton a few weeks ago looked pretty sad.

These headline grabbing schemes were always a bad idea. The one in Manchester City Centre in an underground car park cost £500,000 which works out at £2,500 for each cycle parking space, and that is only if it was fully utilised. Similarly, the above ground, Bolton hub cost £350,000 for 200 spaces, a mere £1,750 per parking space.


On a recent weekday visit to Bolton I saw how the hub has evolved.

While on the outside it still looks like a functioning site, the interior tells a different story


 And close up the bikes look like some may have been abandoned.

A total of 7 bicycles on a normal weekday morning in a facility designed for 200 demonstrates the failure of these projects. At a total cost of £350,000 for the facility that is £50,000 per bike!


A few days later in Bury the situation was much the same and unlike the Bolton hub, this one takes some finding, being hidden away behind the Bury Interchange in the car park. The Bury Local Transport Plan "The cycle hub is remote from the Metrolink and bus facilities...." Though it goes on to say it "lacks capacity.

 Well it would certainly not appear to lack capacity, at least in its current form. Again there were only 7 bikes in the facility, though these did look in better condition, as if the bicycles are still being used.

There were also plenty of unused bike locks, many of which may have been abandoned,

along with the contents of some of the lockers.

The lesson from all of this is that these schemes were designed to be headline grabbing projects for government ministers to open and had nothing to do with the practicalities of commuting by bike.