Cycle hire sites proposed near London Bridge and Blackfriars

The Guardian features a map of the London sites earmarked for cycle docking stations when the city-centre cycle hire system is introduced by Transport for London next year.

The map is based on this list, which includes sites on Tooley Street and Borough High Street, which will be handy for those arriving at London Bridge station.

Commuters arriving at Blackfriars will find a dock at Queen Victoria Street.

11 comments:

Brockley Jon said...

Although I like the idea, I'm still not sold on the reality of this bike hire thing! The bikes, well, look a bit rubbish, and don't come with locks - you have to bring your own.

There is also the £150 deposit before you can start hiring - for that money, you can buy a decent enough commuting bike on the ride2work scheme, or something nice second hand :)

fabhat said...

Isn't the point of them that you ride it from one place to another? So pick one up at London Bridge and ride to Covent Garden say - then leave it there and then pick up another bike if you need to to get to where you are going next? No need for a lock.
If it works it could save a lot of underground and bus journeys once people are in the centre of town - and with all those extra bikes on the road, surely the cycle network infrastructure would have to be improved too - to stop the embarrassment of tourists being killed by lorries and buses?

Headhunter said...

Yes I think that is the point fabhat, it's not meant to be a day hire bike scheme, you use them for quick, short hourneys between drop off points rather than chain them up to a railing to come back to later. You walk to the nearest bike point, pick up your bike, cycle it to the nearest point to your destination, drop it off and walk to your actual destination. just as you would if you were taking the Tube or bus. I don't think the bikes in Paris or Barcelona come with locks either, do they?

As for the £150 deposit, you just give credit card details rather than actually hand over £150 in cash as far as I'm aware. This is probably necessary to prevent the bikes being nicked or dumped in the Thames etc. Any less and people will probably regard the bikes as disposable. However I don't know what is to prevent anyone from giving credit card details and immediately cancelling the credit card then nicking a bike.

But disposing of them on the open market would surely be quite difficult, the Paris and Barcelona bikes are very distinctive looking and lightweight machines they most certainly ain't. They seem to weigh as much as a small motorbike or moped and are built to go into battle with a tank!

I really hope this scheme works out.

Brockley Nick said...

@HH - spot on. Although I believe Paris bikes do have locks - not all these kinds of schemes do.

@Fabhat - I'd love to think you're right about it encouraging bike lane improvements, but all the evidence so far is that Boris and Kulveer Ranger are focused on cars, to the detriment of other road users.

Comment said...

This is exciting. About time too really, the Velib has been going strong in Paris for some time. I hope the London scheme takes the best of Velib scheme and adds to it.

It needs to be super easy and convenient to use and launched with lots of marketing so everyone in London knows about it.

Tamsin said...

My mother (maybe through rose-tinted glasses) recalled a similar sort of thing done totally informally in Oxford in the War years. Obviously those with their own bikes would use them and lock them in the normal way but she said there was a pool of general bicycles always left unlocked that you would just use and leave.
(Surprised, actually, they weren't taken off and made into tanks...)

Headhunter said...

yes I have heard that about bikes in Oxford and/or Cambridge. Wasn't a more official Velib style scheme run in one of those cities in the 1980s? But the bikes were very quickly all stolen.

Anonymous said...

I was in Barcelona recently and watched a bike pick up/drop off point for 10 min. The bikes seemed to be 'locked' into a stand on return and unlocked by a smartcard on pick up. there also seemed to be a series of pick up truck type vehicles redistributing them and/or collecting them for service.

Headhunter said...

We've got friends in Barcelona and apparently in the summer all the bikes end up by the beach and at the bottom of hills! People pick them up at the top of hills, freewheel down to the bottom and then leave them at a drop off station, or they cycle from their home to the beach and then drop them there.

The result is that in the summer, there are not enough drop off points by the beach for all the bikes that people want to leave, so people end up buzzing around like cars waiting for a parking space to open up.

The result is that they have to have the trucks come round to collect a few of the bikes and put some of them back up at the tops of the hills, or back out in the suburbs.

drakefell debaser said...

The Velib uses an oyster card type system which you swipe to unlock the bike and then you fit a part of the bike into a magnetic locking system when you are done. The annoying thing I found was that you have to touch in every half an hour I think it was so you have to plan your route according to how many bike stations there were along the way to avoid a fine. This is ok if you are commuting I guess but if you are a tourist and want to explore it isn’t much fun as you always have to be mindful of the time.
Paris also has a displacement problem where loads of bikes end up in one area, usually in the centre during the day and suburbs at night so they too have lorries carting bikes around but, they are adding bike stations as and when they spot trends so eventually they should be able to rely less on the lorries. They are dastardly heavy though and I wanted to throw the thing away on the way to Montmatre.

Anonymous said...

2010 is phase 1, then the plan is to enlarge the scheme to infiltrate the more outlying areas. I doubt it will make it as far as SE4 though.

A chum at TfL whose baby this is, tells me they're working on a way to use Oyster as a proxy for credit cards (ensuring no prepay for the bike deposit).

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