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.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

New sponsor?

The association of Barclays with London's cycle hire scheme has always produced a mixed response.

They certainly don't seem to have delivered the sponsorship which was promised.

So TfL are going after a new sponsor from 2015. Who will it be? Will it make a difference?

Usage this year is good, but there is a lot more to do. A new sponsor should be judged on their commitment to:
  • Expand the scheme - Southwark Borough, and eastwards into the Olympic Park, have both been seriously proposed. More central docks are needed too.
  • Increase usage - surely 40k journeys per day is not unachievable?
  • Better integration - Boris bikes need to made available on Travelcards, to Oyster users, and with Contactless. At the moment it's just not joined up with other transport choices.
If I were a multimillionaire I would sponsor Boris bikes. But I'm not so I hope a good partner is found. The success of the scheme in contributing to a real change in cycling culture in London depends on it.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Space for Boris Bikes

I hope you, like me, took part in the LCC's Space for Cycling Big Ride last Saturday. Unsurprisingly, I was on a Boris bike.

Half of all the local election candidates in London ended up offering their support. Of those elected, the challenge now will be to get them to act.

Here is Andrew Gilligan's encouraging speech from the day.

Also in the news is the first competitive race on Boris bikes. I hope it takes less than 30 minutes to complete.

The current phase of expansion is nearing its end, but a few new docking stations have been sighted going in, including near Stockwell tube station. Usage this spring has been encouraging, but without a new sponsor, we may not hear of new plans for a while.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Boris Bikes: A Call for Expansion

The latest call to extend the scheme has comes from Wandsworth. Cycle hire has only recently been introduced in the borough, but is already  a success. Extending south would make sense.

As already reported on this blog, Southwark Council have agreed to their slice of the funding of Boris bikes in that borough. Even more than Wandsworth - Peckham, Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, Walworth and Camberwell need the bikes.

Usage seems to be up now that the winter is over, and new cycle routes, like the Quietways, are planned. TfL should use this momentum to announce the next phase of expansion of cycle hire. With a new sponsor to replace Barclays maybe?

In other news: expansion of Dublin bikes is planned. And Storey's Gate docking station has opened, bringing Boris bikes closer to St James's Park.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Boris bikes go yellow

Boris bikes are going yellow (well, 101 of them anyway) as part of the Mayor's bid to highlight the Tour de France this summer, which will come to London on 7 July. I think these striking bikes will make an impact all over town, I certainly want to ride one!

Meanwhile, it seems that not only this blog loves Boris bikes, but also Fulham manager Felix Magath. I'd like to see the whole team out on them soon.

System update: 733 docks currently live, with well over 9,000 bikes available daily. New docking stations are still being prepared, notably on Storey's Gate opposite Westminster Abbey, with 23 docking points. Will be a great addition to the central London tourist trail, and useful for local workers too.



Sunday, 23 February 2014

Health benefits of Boris bikes

I thought it worth posting a link to the full BMJ article on Boris biking.

The article concludes that the health benefits from cycle hire outweigh the negative effects of pollution and potential injury, though these positive effects are more pronounced in men then women, particularly among older men.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Cycling the Extension - some early thoughts

Despite the bad weather, it seems the extension has been a hit, especially in Hammersmith and Fulham. Though not everyone is happy.

And Boris biking is good for our health. I think the article is useful in pointing out that Boris bikers, despite being portrayed as inexperienced, are no more likely than any other cyclist to be involved in a collision, and that the health benefits far outweigh the small chance of injury.

So yesterday, seizing a gap in the rain, I headed west. Here are some initial thoughts:

Hammersmith and Fulham
I struggled to find a bike at first, as there are few stations in the West Brompton area, and those I did find were empty. Eventually cycling, I enjoyed the streets close to Craven Cottage and the riverside. However, Hammersmith Broadway really needs to be rethought for cyclists. Hammersmith Bridge is currently closed for cycling, so I had to push across on the footway.

South of the River
What a pity no docking stations have been installed in Barnes, though it would need the agreement of Richmond Borough. I cycled along Castelnau, took a shortcut down Rocks Lane, and headed towards the docking stations of Putney via Lower Richmond Road.

Putney
Putney has a horrible high street clogged with motor traffic. West of the high street there are no docks. But to the east, they are very high density indeed, which is good, but would have been better on both sides. A number of the streets are one-way - Wandsworth needs to adopt the practice of making streets two-way for cycling, and make better use of 20mph zones. Docking stations are however to be welcomed close to both the rail and Underground stations.

There is still much more for me to see of the new extension zones; any thoughts you might have, please leave a comment.

And I am encouraged that Southwark has confirmed that its financial contribution is available for the extension of the scheme through its streets. We await an announcement from TfL, hopefully soon, on the next phase of extension.

Today is the last day of the initial consultation on the Mayor's inner London cycling grid. While encouraging in some respects, there have been a number of criticisms, most specifically of the routes in Kensington and Chelsea. If done properly, the grid could provide safe, continuous and direct routes for Boris biking within central London.