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.