Thursday, 18 December 2014

Changes coming to Boris bikes in 2015

It's been a successful year for the beautiful blue bikes, with the highest usage since launch, and new records set. And of course it's been the first full year with the bikes out as far as Hammersmith and Putney.

The rate of change has slowed (hence less posts on this blog!) but we are promised in the coming months new docking stations on Tower Hill, in Vauxhall and near Putney Pier.

And in a new announcement, we hear that TfL will seek to install up to 1,000 new docking points in the existing area covered by the scheme during 2015 - a great Christmas present for all Boris bikers.

Hire charges will also be simplified; it'll cost £2 per extra half hour after the first 30 minutes.
Between 80 and 90 percent of users of course complete their journey in under 30 minutes.

We still await the announcement of the new sponsor to replace Barclays, but with new plans afoot, and at last plans for more protected cycle lanes coming to London's streets, the future looks bright for cycle hire in London.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Expansion to the Olympic Park

Good news that a small expansion of the cycle hire scheme has been announced into the Olympic Park. Eight docking stations will provide 320 docking points. Construction will begin in 2015 and the stations will be opened by early 2016. They will be the first docking points in Newham borough.

There has been criticism of the cycle infrastructure in the Park, but overall I think conditions are appealing enough for a good uptake of cycling in the area. The most popular area for Boris biking currently is Hyde Park; perhaps the Olympic Park will be an eastern hub of similar appeal, also providing some revenue to TfL's coffers.

The news of the extension comes after good news on hire figures during the summer months.

But still there is no news on any further extension in the south, especially to Bermondsey and Camberwell in Southwark borough. This summer TfL had promised that further sites would be sought within the existing zones to intensify the scheme. To my knowledge, none have so far been realised.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Can we make Space for Boris Bikes?

TfL has this week published its most radical plans yet for redesigning some streets in central London to give cyclists safe, protected space for cycling. The two routes intersect at Blackfriars; one will run from Kings Cross down to Elephant and Castle, the other from Tower Hill across to Acton.

Both routes are largely segregated, and junctions give priority to cyclists. They pass close to many of London's top attractions, and also include improvements to improve the general environment, and help pedestrians.

But these improvements come at a cost, not only financial, but in terms of reallocating space from motorised traffic. There will no doubt be objections from those who would prefer to keep the status quo.

Please take time to review both sets of proposals, and send a supportive response in to the consultations.

View the East-West consultation here
View the North-South consultation here

Neither plan is perfect, and there may be areas where you'd like the plans to be improved, but they are better than anything seen before, and need our support to get them approved.

Three things strike me as of special importance for Boris bikers:
  • These routes fall almost entirely in areas served by cycle hire docking stations
  • They are suitable for novice cyclists as well as those with more experience
  • They connect 'tourist London', enabling visitors to use cycle hire safely to reach their destinations
Please reply to the consultations, and help make cycling in London better for everyone.

Tower Hill on the East-West route: safe for Boris Bikers?



Friday, 15 August 2014

Boris Bikes to Maida Vale?

A petition has been launched to extend the cycle hire scheme into Maida Vale, pushing a little north and west of the existing stations in that area (Warwick Avenue and Clifton Road).

You can sign the petition here, and I would encourage you to do so.

Many previous petitions of a similar nature (Bikes2Brixton for example) have been unsuccessful, but I think it's still helpful that TfL and the Mayor are aware that there is demand to push the bikes out into new areas.

Don't forget that the bikes are free to hire this weekend - happy cycling!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Happy Birthday Boris Bikes

4 years old - happy birthday Boris bikes
Now 4 years old. There are a number of news stories accompanying the anniversary, one being that usage is once again increasing, and July 2014 is likely to show the largest number of uses in a single month in the scheme's history, beating the previous record set during the Olympics.

Caroline Pidgeon AM points out that usage per bike remains low, and certainly it would be great to adapt the terminals to accept Oyster and contactless payments. However, the newer docking stations to the west and south are away from the central, most intensive, area, so lower use out here will generally bring the mean down a bit.

Also is the news that Boris bikes will be free to hire on the weekend of 16/17 August, in a bid to tempt new users into the scheme. Beware though - you'll still get charged if you go over 30 minutes. Guided free rides will take place in Hyde and Regents Park, the latter for women only. Registration is needed.

Before that of course is Freecycle on 9 August - a chance to ride your Boris bike on traffic-free streets in central London. Hope to see you there.



Sunday, 27 July 2014

Day in the Life of a Boris Bike

The Guardian has followed a Boris bike (15512) for a day - it's an interesting journey, with some useful facts about the bikes thrown in. I especially like Barbara's comment.

Over in Wandsworth, use of and demand for bikes is rising.

And I guess I should mention the missing Boris bike, found after 2 years in Bradley, West Midlands.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

New docking stations for SW London

Three new docking stations will open on 28 July, with 78 docking points in total, on Abyssinia Rd, Limburg Rd and Clapham Common Northside, TfL has announced. This will improve access to Clapham Common and the busy shops and restaurants nearby.

Looking at a map, this will add 3 new stations towards the SW tip of the current area. One might hope that an obvious next step would be to add more docking stations north of the A3 eastwards towards Clapham Common tube station and the busy areas of central Clapham, where Superhighway 7 makes its way southwards. I have seen a new station under construction at Stockwell tube.

In a recent online Q&A session Nick Aldworth, head of Barclays Cycle Hire, said that intensification rather than a major new expansion was the current priority. There are certainly areas within the current scope of the scheme which woefully lack capacity. Expect to see more 'mini-expansions' like this one happening in the coming months.

In other news, a new sponsor is sought for the scheme.