TfL responds: where have all the bikes gone!

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Matt 5 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #75038

    urban
    Participant

    Over the past few months, the West End (from Hyde Park to Shoreditch) has suffered a terrible lack of bikes from around 7pm to 7am. This is new. Until March 2012, the redistribution policy worked well.

    A few of us have been tracking the problem on a daily basis here http://www.borisbikes.org/topic.php?id=1601. And I put in a Freedom of Information request to TfL find out what was going on. Well, we have answers…

    1.    Has there been any instruction from TfL to Serco to cut back on redistribution in certain parts of London?

     

    No

     

    2.    Has Serco told TfL that it is cutting back on redistribution in certain parts of London?

     

    No.  Distribution patterns change on a daily basis to meet the specific needs of different areas. These patterns will also change over time as we learn more about how the scheme operates with the new eastern extension. 

     

    3. Has TfL told on-street staff to stop repairing bikes at the roadside?

     

    No

     

    4. How many bikes did Serco redistribute in May 2012?

     

    58,732 bikes were distributed in May 2012.

     

    5. How many bikes did Serco redistribute in May 2011?

     

    47,644 bikes were distributed in May 2011.

     

    6. How many redistribution staff did Serco employ in May 2012?

     

    66 redistribution staff were employed in May 2012.

     

    7. How many redistribution staff did Serco employ in May 2011?

     

    51 redistribution staff were employed in May 2011.

    So it turns out that redistribution has actually increased over the past year (although it increased proportionally with the increase in docks). Also, there is no policy to cut back on redistribution in certain areas. 

    But, this is the important line:

    “[Redistribution] patterns will also change over time as we learn more about how the scheme operates with the new eastern extension.”

    The problems in the West End started around the same as the eastern extension. This line suggests that they are still working out how to cope with the new, enlarged area.

    #85523

    RichmondTransits
    Participant

    Good post and interesting data.

    This scheme is still grossly under-sized for London -see this comparison with Paris:

    http://richmondtransits.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/boris-bike-vs-french-velib-unfair.html

    I wonder whether how many redistributions PER DOCKING POINT would be a better metric: TfL claims an increase in staff and redistribution, but have increased the number of stations (and docking points).

    Does anyone know how many there were in May 2011 and May 2012?

    #85524

    Matt
    Participant

    Nice one Urban :)

    I also got an email today:

    Quote:
    Thank you for your further email. I hope you had an enjoyable holiday.

    As regards the restrictions on us accessing the docking stations in Westminster, the only option open to us is to submit planning applications to have the relevant restrictive conditions removed or altered. This is something we are actively pursuing, and a number of such applications have already been submitted. It essentially centres around amenity, and how sensitive the local area is to noise from servicing the stations – i.e. will it cause a disturbance and wake up local residents during the night. However, there is no guarantee these applications will succeed, and unfortunately it is not an easy or quick process.

    With regards to heightened activity in the hours we can access the area, following a discussion with Serco I can advise that areas such as Waterloo and Kings Cross are prioritised, and when emptying these stations at peak PM hours they take the bikes to more local areas such as The Strand and Holborn respectively to allow more trips based on the usage of these docking stations. While we try to ensure that docking stations do not become full or empty, we simply do not have resources to do this in all areas, and must prioritise appropriately.

    We haven’t had a lot of feedback of this nature about this area, but please be assured we are keeping a close eye on this and will alter distribution strategies wherever it is necessary.

    I hope this helps, and thank you again for your email.

    edit: Although prying around the world wide web it seems that the same person deals with: “Replying to escalated complaints regarding the cycle hire scheme in London. Dealing with VIP, Mayoral, and GLA complaints and coordinating responses to Mayors Questions and FOI requests. Also managing correspondence and Operations matters for the scheme.”

    #85525

    Matt
    Participant

    This could also answer the questions to the lack of bikes issue… they’re all being used!

    Quote:
    Barclays Cycle Hire

    ‏@BarclaysCycle

    Last week was our busiest ever, with over a quarter of a million hires! ‪#cyclehire‬

    9:59 AM – 1 Jun 12 via web

    #85526

    jt
    Participant

    There is still a huge problem in Covent Garden and Soho. Covent Harden has a large central area around 7 Dials and St Martins with no docking stations and it seems the only docking station they look after is Tavistock Street which is a long way off when you are on the opposite side. 3 out of 5 mornings I am unable to dock where I need to and have to go as far as Great Russell Street to dock. In the evenings I often have to get a bus because there simply are no bikes at 7pm which is when I finish work. It is now 2 years and it is worse than it ever was. Why can Paris manage but London can’t. I feel there is no real will to make it work. I almost never see Serco staff in the west end. It is just hopeless.

    #85527

    Matt
    Participant

    There was a guy picking up bikes in Piccadilly today, so I asked him why he’s taking ALL of them (seeing as though they empty themselves pretty fine in the evening), and he just said it’s for the morning commuters… this was about 8pm!

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