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.