April 12, 2012 at 9:12 am #74998
Three times in the past few days I’ve had to press the big red button. It’s making me concerned that the bikes aren’t being repaired as frequently/efficiently as they should be. And some of the damage has been quite dangerous.
So, first, a broken mudguard was scraping the wheel. Not too bad, just an annoying noise and a slightly difficult ride (because the back tyre doesn’t spin freely).
Then, an error I’ve encountered before – a misaligned front wheel/handlebars. So a tiny slip on the handlebars sends the front wheel way over to the left (or right). It’s quite scary the first time you go round a corner. And very, very dangerous. The first time I’ve had to get off and walk the bike to the nearest dock.
And then today – slippery gears. It kept slipping down from third to second. So as i stood to get more power the pedal jolted and i nearly went over the handlebars. Again, incredibly dangerous.April 12, 2012 at 10:51 am #85223
Scary stuff… The gears slipping has happened to me a few times. I like to get a good start standing from the lights to get out the way of all the traffic- unfortunely sometimes that means a horrible wobble in the middle of the junction as the gear slips!
Usually turning the gear changer a bit further than the ‘click’ sorts this out- but not always…April 12, 2012 at 11:15 am #85224
Yep, that mid-junction wobble followed by me swearing – was exactly what happened.April 12, 2012 at 2:31 pm #85225
I was in Paris recently and the bikes there are in an awful state. I hope our bikes don’t end up that way.April 13, 2012 at 8:27 am #85226
Yep, the gear slippage just happened to me coming from Euston to the west end. A sudden slip from second to first means almost a total loss of momentum due to the low first gear – does anyone actually use first? Scary…
Ive also noticed an definite increase in bikes flagged as faulty, seven on Wellington St this morning…Worrying..April 13, 2012 at 11:50 am #85227April 13, 2012 at 11:51 am #85228
What also concerns me is how long the faulty bikes are left languishing in the docks. Take Langham Street W1 for example. I’ve taken the numbers of red lighted bikes and noticed they’ve still been there, still red lighted, up to 5 days later. Why this is, remains a mystery. Serco should be set minimum standards so a time limit is set on how long a faulty bike can be left in a dock.
Eg. If they can collect bikes for redistribution daily, they can also be picking up faulty bikes within a few hours, 24 hours maximum. A red lighted bike is not only useless but also taking up docking space needed by other users.April 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm #85229
There is a temptation to not press the red button because it takes a bike out of circulation. But it is really, really important to do so. The bikes with dangerous faults that I found should never have been available – and they wouldn’t have been, if the previous user pressed the red button.
It’s up to all of us to keep the system safe, and that means reporting anything that feels a little bit unusual (because it might develop into something dangerous).
TfL have responded to me, and essentially blamed the previous users of the damaged bikes that I hired:Quote:We do apologise that the previous cycles you had hired were faulty and not reported to our on street team as we do advise our customers that if they a find a fault with a cycle, when returning it they should press the fault button available at the docking point. Once pressed, the docking point will lock the cycle with a red light kept on at the docking point to indicate this.
Our on-street do respond and assess faulty cycles before making any repairs. While the cycle is locked in the docking station it will be unavailable for use as the fault is something that needs to be rectified as soon as possible.
I do agree about Serco not repairing as quick as they should. A dock with half of them red-lighted is unacceptable. They weren’t all red-lighted the same day, so some have obviously been languishing for a while.
Also, I wonder how often routine checks are made.April 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm #85230
Sorry if this repeats stuff from my previous post, but here’s my reply to TfL:Quote:I agree that it’s essential that users report faults, and if the previous users of my bike has pressed the red button, I wouldn’t have been lumped with a dangerous bike.
But I also wonder why Serco isn’t picking up these errors in routine checks. Three dangerous bikes in as many days is unacceptable. What is Serco’s target? How often are ‘good’ bikes checked?
And also, why are some docks filled with red-lighted bikes? How long do Serco have before they have to collect a damaged bike?
Let’s see what the response is.April 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm #85231
Hey Urban, is it really cyclists not reporting bikes? When I dock my bike in the mornings I see the guys taking out cycles that have been red lighted. What’s to say they don’t go back into circulation?April 14, 2012 at 8:59 am #85232
The problem is that it may not always be obvious to the Serco workers what the problem is (take as an example the slipping gears – unless they get on the bike and repeat your actions they are unlikely to know why the bike was red lighted).
I suggested a while ago that there should be a system where you could text the bike number and the problem to a central number so that the service crew know what they’re dealing with.April 14, 2012 at 7:37 pm #85233
Ashbro – I saw your suggestion a while ago, that’s an excellent idea. I assume that when a bike is reported faulty, it is give a full service, and they test the gears, the brakes, the tyre treads, the bell, etc… That way they’ll pick up anything and everything that would’ve prompted the user to press the red button.
Radii8 – when Serco take a red-lighted bike out, that bike won’t go back into circulation until it has been fixed. If we don’t press the red button, there’s no way they know that it needs to be fixed unless they are doing regular routine checks on all bikes (which they are supposed to be doing).April 15, 2012 at 8:29 am #85234
Incidentally, I’ve been using BB’s since day 1 and had never previously experienced the ‘slipping gears’ problem. Having read these posts I was out on the bikes yesterday and experienced exactly that problem. Hmmm – maybe there has been a design change in the newer bikes (or is it the older bikes with cotinued use?). I tried red-lighting it once I docked – but the red light was broken!!April 17, 2012 at 8:37 pm #85235
Ashbro, oh the irony!
So, I just got a call from TfL, they told me that the on-street team doesn’t have a target for collecting damaged bikes, in the same way that they have targets for redistribution.
He said they only pick up damaged bikes when a ‘certain number’ of red-lights have appeared on that docking station (he wouldn’t tell me what the magic number was). So, damaged bikes could be sitting there for days if no other bikes are reported as broken in the same docking station.
He did refer to ‘enough to fill a van,’ though. So I wonder if he means they wait until there are enough red lights in a particular neighbourhood (now that docking stations are classified by neighbourhood) to justify sending a van out.April 18, 2012 at 11:12 am #85236
Oh, no wonder they never collect them from Langham Street.
In fact W1 in general is in need of more bikes in the mornings (just one available this morning?! bit too efficient.) and more bikes available in the late evenings (8pm – 1am). W1 is a 24 hour currency so the bikes are needed all the time not just during the daytime.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.