Cycle hire scheme upgrades solve niggling issues for users

Boris bike cycle hire scheme in hyde park

With the cycle hire scheme expanding to South and West London with 2,000 shiny new bikes, TfL has some upgrades in store for us users.

For a start, there is now a local rate call number (0343 222 6666) for any questions you have for the cycle hire team. This is great for us mobile phone users who get charged extortionate rates for calling 0845 numbers. Though of course, I’m sure many of us were already using a workaround.

What’s more exciting is that you’ll now be able to use your card associated with your registered key to hire a bike as a casual user. Previously, you couldn’t use the card, so if you’d left your key at home, you’d be stuck.

One of the biggest irritations from the beginning was that additional keys were restricted to the same access periods. However, you can now have one key with annual access and one with 24 hour access. This is useful if you have a spare key for family or friends.

Unfortunately, contactless payments (could we see Oyster cards?) are still not a reality but TfL will be investigating this addition once the upgrades are completed.

The expansions will be completed at the end of this year and will mean the scheme will cover more than 100km2 of London, up from 65km2, making it one of the largest cycle hire networks in the world.

Along with the 2000 additional bikes, there will be hundreds of new docking stations installed. This should decrease the number of instances where you find an empty docking station or a station with no space to leave your bike.

Overall, this is excellent news and it’s great to see the scheme expanding and making life easier for those of us wishing to use alternative modes of transport to get around London.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

13 Responses to Cycle hire scheme upgrades solve niggling issues for users

  1. James R Grinter 17/09/2013 at 9:24 am #

    Such good news that I went to reset my keys, that I’ve had since the start but not used for a while, last night.

    Turns out someone had the bright idea of locking out the online account after a year of no use (they still happily send emails though) – so I’ll be using their 020 number today to call them…

    • Andreas 18/09/2013 at 2:34 pm #

      Same problem! Will be ringing them later too!

  2. Tom 17/09/2013 at 9:24 am #

    “This should decrease the number of instances where you find an empty docking station or a station with no space to leave your bike.”

    I’m not sure about that – surely the lack of space issue is due to the scheme being overused by commuting flows – if you want to ride from Waterloo to Holborn at morning rush hour a new dock in Fulham isn’t much use.

  3. john 17/09/2013 at 9:32 am #

    Also, on some of the bikes if you don’t have a key and you use the pin number it now makes a bleep noise when you punch in the number…

    • Andreas 18/09/2013 at 2:35 pm #

      That makes a lot of sense – thanks for reporting John :)

  4. Michael 17/09/2013 at 11:01 pm #

    Will be interesting to see whether the scheme expands any further. Think it’s a great way of making cycling visible in an area. Also interested in the scheme to create ‘mini Hollands’ (does that include the coffee shops??? :P) in outer London boroughs.

    • Andreas 18/09/2013 at 2:35 pm #

      I’m very hopeful that it does include coffee shops :)

  5. John 18/09/2013 at 1:16 pm #

    The de-linking of multiple keys is progress at last! I had to have 2 separate accounts, an annual one and a daily, linked to different email addresses and cards; I stopped using the annual when it expired after the price doubled (and bought a Tern folder instead) but still like the convenience of the occasional daily one for days when I can’t be bothered with the folder on the train.

  6. KP 18/09/2013 at 5:02 pm #

    100KM2?! Not sure about that.

    The area south of elephant of castle to Peckham and further east to Greenwich is completely flat and would be well suited. The area South East of Elephant and Castle is a 9sq km block of no tube and no rail stations. Why this area hasn’t had the bikes is a mystery to me. I’m sure there is a political reason though.

  7. Knowles 20/09/2013 at 10:21 am #

    I have also noticed that the docking station beeps when you put the bike in, and when the light goes green once key accepted. Quite useful

  8. goonz 20/09/2013 at 12:00 pm #

    I dont really use it but registered online and got the key at home.

    Then one day needed to use the bike but didnt have key so tried to simply PAYG but kept rejecting my card, turns out you cannot use the same card for PAYG as registered on your account???

    What the fark?

    • James R Grinter 20/09/2013 at 2:45 pm #

      As Andreas wrote, that’s one of the things they have apparently just (finally!) fixed.

  9. Ann 15/12/2013 at 4:03 pm #

    In all fairness, I am quite disappointed with this so-called “upgrade.” South-east London has been completely disregarded. The closest for me, being a resident of Canada Water, is a 45-minute walk to Tower Bridge for a blooming Boris bike. Elephant & Castle isn’t precisely nearby either.

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