Hey there! Welcome to the scheme. It’ll make you fitter, faster and happier.
1 – yes, please do red light damaged bikes. Small problems can develop into big (and dangerous) ones, and red lighting is the only way to make sure the problem gets seen to fast. There are some who say you shouldn’t red light a broken bell, and I’d tend to agree, given how often I find broken bells. The new bells on the new bikes are said to be more reliable (and – thankfully – fixed in the down position!). Anyway, use your judgement – it’s not antisocial to red light, quite the opposite. Although in peak hours, it might be fairer just to leave the bike in service.
2 – this is something that started in Paris and spread here. I don’t bother because it’s quite obvious from the big red light on the docking point that the bike is out of use.
3 – only by emailing TfL, unfortunately. I found a dock that simply wouldn’t accept a bike yesterday. Annoying as it was the only free dock in the station (and because of that, the terminal won’t let me get a free 15 min extension). If you find that the lights don’t come on when you dock, the problem is more likely to be that you haven’t docked properly. Lift the back wheel up and the bike will probably pop out. If it doesn’t, then call TfL, or you may be landed with a big fine (as I was, when the system didn’t realise that I had docked).
4 – from the blonde one’s manifesto:
“I will explore expanding the scheme further into outer London town centres, with a capacity study of six major
town centres – Bromley, Croydon, Hounslow, Kingston, Richmond, and Romford – to be conducted and the
results published by the end of the year.”
The pricing system is tried and tested around the world. Paris expanded massively and stuck with the free 30 mins. I can’t see any reason to change that here.