I am an annual member and like westcountrytim have had very few problems in the eight months that I have used this brilliant scheme – hiring most weeks but mostly outside of rush hour. Although frustrating sometimes empty or full docks are to be expected unless Serco have not been carrying out sensible re-distribution, which except for traffic holdups and vehicle breakdowns I can see no excuse for. It’s no use TFL saying the scheme was not designed for commuters as it is considered part of transport which also includes river bus services and taxis and which commuters use.
The only two overcharges in May I thought I had from incorrect arrival details on the journey record have ironically both appeared correct on my account activity listing and which have only just appeared dated May 10th / 11th!
However even I can see that the software is unreliable – surely the system testers of the third party software company have a docking station, points and bikes replication and appropriate environment to use thoroughly? There cannot be excuses for any bug ridden software updates as recently occurred.
It would appear 24 hour membership still has problems when auto-renew is not selected.
And the casual hire process remains very user unfriendly with no indication of improving and from observation at busier docking stations is definitely the cause of the overload of phone enquiries to customer services some of which are:
No on screen help messages during the process
A minimum of two inserts of the CC/DC into the reader – crazy in 2011 (3 or more when two or more bikes requested) – which slows up the process considerably as users have put their cards back into wallets, purses etc
No reason messages if the transaction is refused
Confusion about charges (the docking station itself does not make clear that the access charge is PLUS the usage one – nor in fact the on screen display) Printed brochures do!
Release codes print separately, but only after the CC/DC is entered yet again into the reader.
Many users where two or more bikes are required think the one release code is for all of the bikes requested!
Of course once you know the casual hire process even though it is complex, it becomes straight forward to hire.
Several members of the GLA are now on board with some of these problems and will question the Mayor about them. The high usage figures give the impression everything is great but I have seen a lot of unhappy and disappointed people including members walk away from the scheme.
Fingers crossed this great scheme improves dramatically in its reliability before the summer arrives.