Re: It's hard to love and impossible to depend on the unreliable…

Home Forums Hate It's hard to love and impossible to depend on the unreliable… Re: It's hard to love and impossible to depend on the unreliable…



I just sent this rant to TfL through the “contact us” form… would be interested to see if anyone else being given the “5 minute lockout” message if your first attempt to use your key fails? If that’s true it would be Nonsense, NONsense, NONSENSE!!


I am an infrequent user of the bike hire scheme but need to rely on it from time to time to get around town quickly when I don’t have my own bike. For that reason I chose to join as a member and set up 24 hour access with auto-renew. That way, even if it was months between uses, I could just pop in my key, safe in the knowledge that payment would always be ready and renewed, and quickly take a bike.

This hardly ever happens! About 90% of the times I have tried to use the scheme, my first attempt to remove a bike is met with a red light (I think the only exception was on 18th July this year). I try neighbouring bikes and neighbouring docking stations (where I can) and – still red lights.

I always end up phoning your number from my mobile (I would be interested to know how much I am charged for these calls) and always get given different advice and mixed messages. Here are a sample:

“There must be a problem with your key” (there isn’t)

“It’s because you haven’t used your key for so long” (should that make a difference when I am an infrequent user using auto-renew?)

“We need to reset your key” (Why?! I set up auto-renew)

“Your account needs to be reset” (Why ?)

I also receive mixed messages about how the system copes with the situation where the first bike I attempt to take gives me a red light for whatever reason. I have been told by one of your call-centre agents that if I get a red light (for whatever reason) then I cannot attempt to take another bike for 5 minutes. However, when I put that to one of your staff who happened to be at a docking station, I was told that this was not correct.

Can you please confirm: If I get a red light on my first attempt to take a bike, am I effectively locked out for 5 minutes from trying any other bikes? If that is the case, it is quite frankly ridiculous! I understand the 5 minute dock-in / dock-out rule as it stops people taking a new bike immediately after docking another, but why would this rule to apply to the situation I’ve described?

All I want to do is turn up, infrequently, at a docking station, use my key and take a bike dropping it off within 30 minutes somewhere else. What I don’t want to do is get red-lights from every bike I try, be forced to call your phone-line (costing me ???) and end up wasting about 15 minutes while someone “resets my account / key” so that I can eventually get a bike.

The scheme is failing me and I would love to hear what the plans are to resolve problems such as the one I’ve described.

Many thanks in advance for your clear answers.