London cycle hire scheme expanding west

Boris bike usage visualisation

I’m a little late off the mark with this one as I’ve been away for a week. However, it is worth reporting on.

Following the first year of successful operation and the completion of more than 6 million journeys on Boris Bikes, the announcement has arrived the scheme is to expand west. This will cover the boroughs of Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham, Lambeth, and Kensington and Chelsea.

This will take place over the next two years and be funded in part by the sponsorship money from Barclays. Who provided £25 million for a 5 year sponsorship. This will cover the Olympic period.

The scheme has proved very popular in its first year as you can readily see during peak hours and around popular tourist destinations such as Hyde Park. Usage of the bikes has peaked at around 30,000 trips a day.

Despite this success, the scheme has continued to experience technical issues. Many users having to call up the Cycle Hire centre on more than one occasion after facing issues undocking the bikes. Most of the issues appear to remain for casual users rather than those holding a cycle hire membership key.

The expansion means both the East and West of London are the first to see the benefits of the cycle hire bikes. The North and South will have to wait a while longer. According to Boris Johnson "We’re prepared to go in any direction. The sole constraints are time and money."

The eastward expansion which is set to be completed before the Olympics commence will see an extra 2,000 bikes to complement the existing 6,000 currently available. This will be achieved through an expansion of existing docking stations and new ones being installed.

In comparison the Paris Vélib bike-sharing scheme marked 20,600 bikes and 1,451 docking stations by the end of its first year. This generated 10 million dollars in revenue for the city. From then on, Velib was aggressively expanded.

Whilst the expansion is welcome news, much attention has been devoted in the past week to the protests held on Blackfriars Bridge. Despite calls from cyclists with overwhelming support from members of the London assembly and politicians it seems TfL are to proceed with plans to turn the bridge into an urban motorway.

See also:

  1. How the London Cycle Hire scheme will look for casual users
  2. Cycle hire bike 14964

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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6 Responses to London cycle hire scheme expanding west

  1. Alex 01/08/2011 at 2:53 pm #

    They need to sort of all the technical issues before expanding the scheme, I can’t see why this isn’t the number one priority (apart from p.r. / marketing).

    The most frustrating aspect is that out of service bikes are still reflected as available by the system, should you check online, so you actually spend an age sticking your key into the docking stations to see if they work, wasting time, when its meant to be faster than other transport systems.

    I have a key but used my other half attempted to use credit card over the weekend. Two credit cards were rejected for no obvious reason, and when one finally worked, attempting to find two working bikes proved difficult, in two cases walking halfway to the eventual destination before a bike could be found. Any convenience or sense of fun was basically drained out of it and it is, further, an embarrassment to see bewildered and frustrated tourists attempting to use it.

  2. Rajiv, Going Going Bike 02/08/2011 at 2:48 pm #

    Odd that Boris didn’t open the sponsorship for other firms to bid. Might have generated more funds

    • Phil 03/08/2011 at 10:00 am #

      Barclays-stamped brown enevelopes under the table might have had something to do with it. Cynical, me? About a politician?

  3. Phil 03/08/2011 at 10:01 am #

    Envelopes, ahem.

  4. Bike Hire Brisbane 04/08/2011 at 6:29 am #

    We have a scheme in our town that is very similar however it has been quite a major flop. It wasn’t very well thought out to begin with and it is compulsory to wear helmets, meaning that you need to carry a helmet with you before you hire the bike. Not very well thought out at all.

  5. Bill Morgan 04/08/2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Confused. In what way does a westward expansion cover Lambeth? Can’t see it happening round Brixton/Streatham/Norwood for the forseeable future – too many hills and not enough people in gainful employment.

    You’ve got love Boris though “The sole constraints are time and money.” Oh right so not really constraints at all then.

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