Thursday, 26 September 2013

New docking stations taking shape

26 docking points recently installed on Addison Rd
I took this remarkable picture yesterday morning on Addison Road outside Cardinal Vaughan School (just off Holland Park Avenue), showing one of the new docking stations fully installed and ready for operation. Nearby the groundwork is complete on Holland Park Avenue near Princedale Road and workers are also busy installing docks right outside Holland Park tube station. For this part of London, currently right on the edge of the scheme, this marks significant intensification, and further docks are also being installed across an extended zone reaching west into Hammersmith and Fulham and northwards across more of the borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

And there is news of yet more docking stations being approved, after a dispute over planning.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

City of London - Update

Docks coming soon - St Bride Street
Just occasionally one has too much time to spare and you unearth an interesting document on the internet. This happened to me today when I discovered the City of London's most recent council document on cycle hire.

The document recommends that as part of the current expansion of the scheme, four previously agreed docking stations should be installed. It also mentions a possible dock on Upper Thames Street, which is part of TfL's route network.

It's getting better - Bouverie Street
I had a cycle round these streets today. St Bride Street is under construction, and an area of Bouverie Street has been fenced off for an extension. John Carpenter Street has major building works, so nothing here at the moment, and Houndsditch also has work going on - though this would be an excellent new dock so I hope it does appear. Nothing yet on Upper Thames Street either.

The report acknowledges that demand outstrips supply in the Square Mile. I look forward to the new docks, and also hope that this won't be the end of expansion in the City.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

I love Citi Bikes

Citi Bikes are the New York version of Boris bikes. They are built on the same technology. And they have just celebrated their first 100 days in action.

6,000 bikes are available at about 330 docking stations, at this stage a little smaller than our scheme here in London. But expansion is planned.

Hire bikes in New York - look familiar?
The scheme has already been hailed a success. The pricing structure makes annual membership far more cost-effective than in London, so there is more incentive to become a member and use the bikes often. And if you want proof of their appeal, just look at the stats. With many days way beyond 30,000 journeys and some over 40k, the daily hire per bike is higher than in London.

Why this runaway success? Better bike lanes in New York? Less people with their own bike so needing to hire one? Probably both true. But also I think the Citi Bike people are more engaged and proactive in marketing than TfL have been. The scheme has its own dedicated website - Boris bikes just get a small corner of the TfL one. The scheme even has its own official blog. Impressive. Then there are member meetings and bike classes. The scheme is already harnessing the user community to spread its success, and actively encouraging new riders to join.

TfL should take note. As phase 3, the southwestern extension, gets ever nearer, could more be done to build a committed community of Boris bikers to rival our Citi biking friends over the pond, and spread the love of Boris bikes to even more Londoners?

UPDATE - another good article analysing the Citi Bike scheme and its early success

Monday, 9 September 2013

Changes coming this weekend

Casual users will be unable to access Boris bikes for around 24 hours this weekend (14/15 Sep) due to upgrade work to terminals. Annual members will be unaffected.

Terminals will be upgraded this weekend
The software upgrade comes ahead of the scheme's expansion later this year. There will be a number of benefits, including the ability for one person to have multiple keys with different access options, enabling annual members for example to have extra keys available to lend to friends and family when they visit or want to cycle together. In addition, casual use will be made easier, cutting out the irritation of inserting the payment card multiple times.

These changes are in response to customer feedback, and hopefully the short interruption to the service will pave the way for an improved hire experience.

Here is TfL's press release on the changes.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Space for Boris biking

Yesterday evening 5,000 cyclists took to the streets of London in London Cycling Campaign's 'Space for Cycling' ride. The protest ride passed the Houses of Parliament where MPs were debating the Get Britain Cycling report.

Boris bikers support 'Space for Cycling' ride
The ride is the latest in a series designed to highlight the need for more dedicated space for cycling on Britain's roads, to improve safety and encourage more people to switch to two wheels.

Many Boris bikers took part in the event. Of all London's cyclists, those who take to Boris bikes are often novices or less experienced. The cycle hire scheme deliberately encourages new cyclists and casual users. Helmets are, quite rightly, not compulsory.

If we want streets where all cyclists are safe, including children and the elderly, then we need streets with facilities to protect us from fast-moving motor traffic and HGVs. Government spending on cycling remains pitiful compared to other European countries, despite the huge benefits in improving air quality, health and tackling congestion.

I hope this ride has helped our parliamentary representatives understand that to really Get Britain Cycling we need political will and investment.