How the London cycle hire scheme will look for casual users


Tomorrow the London cycle hire scheme will be opening up to all users. This means you can walk up to a terminal, insert your credit or debit card and hire out a Boris Bike. For those of us with membership it is worth noting that you cannot hire a bike using the same card as the one you’ve registered with.

The above video shows the interface casual users will be greeted with when hiring a bike. Unfortunately in the demonstration the transaction didn’t complete however we’ve been promised everything will be ready for tomorrow. Overnight Serco visited every single one of the docking stations to test out the system and make sure it was working. Fingers crossed!

Barclays cycle hire choosing access time

Choosing 24 hour or 7 day access

Barclays cycle hire the receipt

The receipt you’ll need with the 5 digit unlock code

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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19 Responses to How the London cycle hire scheme will look for casual users

  1. Godwyns 02/12/2010 at 11:21 am #

    Well, printing all that paper sort of defeats one of the purpose of propagating cycling… Why the waste? In Berlin, you can book a bike online and recieve your code on the provided mobile phone/number as a text message or copy it out from the internet page. Head to the docking station and use your code without printing even a line.

    Without internet, you can walk into some designated shops just like we have Oyster Shops here and book a bike, get the code without printing too and head to the docking station…

    Are we lagging behind here?

    • Andreas 02/12/2010 at 11:48 am #

      A little Godwyn. Let’s hope in future versions we will be seeing paperless transactions!

    • tim 02/12/2010 at 11:53 am #

      we should have both, but think that printing at the dock is a good back up

      • Craig 02/12/2010 at 12:31 pm #

        what is wrong with using the Oyster card as a unique ID and unlock?

        • AJ 02/12/2010 at 2:26 pm #

          Can’t take £300 as security from an Oyster card!

        • Godwyns 02/12/2010 at 2:48 pm #

          Very good alternative indeed. And could even add to number of users as the easier it is, the more tempted people like me may consider… at that point of reflex

        • Craig 02/12/2010 at 3:48 pm #

          AJ I meant the Oyster card is the ID and unlock your deposit still goes on your credit card. Although you could pay for you daily hire off the the Oyster.

        • Pete Cruze 05/02/2011 at 2:52 pm #

          What deposit / security £300…?

          This doesn’t happen. There isn’t such a thing, for casuals or keyholders.

    • Tea_Bee 02/12/2010 at 4:27 pm #

      Using all that electricity sending text messages and polluting the air with microwaves doesn’t sound like some kind of idyllic, green-coloured Eden either. We have sustainable sources of paper at the moment. We have virtually no sustainable sources of electricity. You sound like someone trying to assuage their middle class guilt by getting on their high horse without actually having to DO anything, for the sake of sounding better than their fellow man without the actual effort of having to BE better.

      • Richard Gray 03/12/2010 at 11:36 am #

        It’s a minefield trying to be green these days!

    • Pete Cruze 22/12/2010 at 3:51 pm #

      The hire is happening there and then, on the street. Not somewhere else or online, earlier.

      They could put the number on the screen, but how many people would forget it by the time they got to the docking point?

      And how many people would look over your shoulder, steal your number and ride your bike away (maybe never to be docked)?

  2. PaulM 02/12/2010 at 7:32 pm #


    Do you REALLY believe that sending a text uses more electricity than printing a ticket? Do you REALLY believe we have “sustainable” sources of paper? Do you think that paper production is sutainable? Have you ever heard of “black liquor”? Do you know how much acid and chemicals is used in making paper, even recycled?

    If you must display your ignorance on environmental matters, please don’t get high-handed with people who evidently know better

    • ronnie 24/03/2011 at 7:25 pm #

      You are a tool! How can the printing of receipts actually be a problem? When considering how many millions of receipts get printed everyday in London alone, this is hardly going to make a big impact on that number. But the bike system, if it is used to it’s full potential has the ability to reduce thousands of tonnes from being released into the atmosphere, due to less cars being stuck in traffic around London, also this could have a very positive effect on getting people to be more active. I hope cities across England will inherit this scheme. One of the best schemes to come from a mayor for many a year, congrats Boris.

  3. justin rolfe 02/12/2010 at 11:59 pm #

    I’m so fed up with being with someone who hasn’t got a blue key and ending up taking the stinky tube just to be sociable when there a boris bike just there!

    I wonder if this will contribute — or mitigate — the redistribution problem, especially near mainline stations around rush hour?

  4. Blinky Doyle 04/12/2010 at 9:12 pm #

    “Well, printing all that paper sort of defeats …”

    You’re seriously saying that printing a piece of low quality paper about 5cm X 15cm defeats the object of getting people cycling.
    We should all give up; there really is no pleasing some people.

  5. Lenny 09/12/2010 at 5:36 pm #

    Awesome, im yet to try this scheme… fantastic! congrats to London

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