You were actually supposed to have a (paid for) cycle permit well before the K&A 'trial', dating back to DIWE days I think. The cost just about paid for the admin I expect.
However, Alan's statement above contains the nub of CRT's problem: Most people will not voluntarily start to pay for or toward something they have traditionally had for nothing.
CRT have no ability to impose compulsory charges for use of the towpath by walkers et al. ( it's in the handover act IIRC) so cannot guarantee any substantial revenue from these sources. Compare this with NT or English Heritage: if you want to see their headline properties you generally can only do so by paying and then, once you are footfall, you can be sold teas gifts and other profitable tat to get more money from you.
The grand Big Society plan had CRT weaned almost entirely off Government Grant after 10 years and it is now evident that that was a complete dream. There are no donations and no prospect of any. Cycle ways grants don't pay for repairs or maintenance ( even of the cycle ways usually). CRT also know that going back to DEFRA for a pile of money will not make them popular in Whitehall so they have to be seen to have tried everything before they have to. They are at or about the limit with boaters (the Treasury measure is that a boat licence should be about the same price as a middle-of-the-fairway (not Royal Birkdale or Wentworth) golf club membership and they are at the limit with worm drowners. There is no other saleable product with enough potential volume to affect the P&L. Parry and team are hoping that high public brand awareness will mean that they can parlay this into taxpayers money as a substitute for donations. I think this will be a big challenge, particularly in the current political climate. It is too easy for the (busy with Brexit) DEFRA civil servants to park paying for the waterways firmly on the back burner of a cooker out in the shed.
It is in my opinion high time the IWA took its cranium from its rectum and realised where we are. Instead of pipe dreams like taking over from EA, they need think about a 1960-68 style rolling campaign to get the real recreational value of the waterways, and the drivers of those values, once again recognised in Whitehall and Westminster. We users in turn need to make the point that the waterways are deteriorating, that there is not enough money to stop this and that public safety will soon once again be at risk as it was in the early 80's.