July 25, 2011 at 9:09 pm #74822
Today I had my first taste of not being able to release a bike after nearly a year using the scheme, I have an annual membership.
In the morning, my normal dock outside the office was closed due to road works so I dropped the bike at Soho Square.
On leaving in the evening I had to make the extra walk to Wardour Street due to the closed docks outside the office, the first bike gave a red light, then second and third… decided to walk to the next dock and had the same problem.
Called the hot line to be told my morning bike was still active and had not been returned, hence not be able to release another bike. I told the nice lady on the phone that since one episode very early on in the scheme where I had not docked a bike and been charged the £50 (got a refund after a month) I always double check the bike is docked, sometimes even walking away after checking and then going back after a few steps to check again. (I may even have a little OCD over the docking).
She told me that until the bike is docked I cannot take out another bike, she would call the people that drive around to re-dock it (notice the word re-dock). She asked me where I had left the bike, saying “Soho Square”, but not thinking it would still be there if I hadn’t docked it and now being 9 hours later. She told me it would be there and that no-one else could take it if I had not docked it? But I thought the problem was that I hadn’t docked the bike. Anyway, I told her I was close by and to give me the offending bike number and I would check.
She then instructed me that only I could un-dock the bike if it was there (again confused about un-docking my un-docked bike), and then to dock it again. So I walked over to Soho Square and there was the bike I had left docked in the morning, and guess what, it was docked. I even filmed myself attempting to check if the bike was docked, and it was.
So I inserted my key and after a few amber flashes the bike went green. I then docked the bike again and phoned the hot line to be told it had now been returned, success. I asked that could they instead of giving me a refund, cancel the charge to save time and money, that I do not think will happen if anything like the last time is to go by.
I have experienced in the past docking stations that go amber and do not show green when docking (maybe a faulty light) does not mean you haven’t docked. Making sure the bike does not come out of the dock seems to be the best check that you are docked, but not today. Which leads to the question ‘When is a docked bike not a docked bike?’July 26, 2011 at 7:56 am #84323
I’ve taken to printing out a journey receipt so I know its been returned. Its normally available straight away about 90% of the time. Having said that, I now get really worried if I cant get the receipt printed, and on one occasion it took 24hrs to become available.
A waste of papaer? Yes, but some peace of mind.July 26, 2011 at 8:29 am #84324
I have had so many instances of the receipts either timing out or not being available, that I take a picture of the docked bike with my phone.July 26, 2011 at 10:53 am #84325
I had this problem a couple of weeks back, green light but, as you found, the lady on the phone said it was not docked properly.
What made me cross at the time was that she wasn’t able to help me get another bike, instead telling me an on the ground team would need to sort it out, and my key wouldn’t work in the meantime. I understand the system has glitches, all systems do, but not to be able to even help me get a bike, that’s poor. My walk home was nearly an hour.
Thankfully no problems since then.July 26, 2011 at 10:58 am #84326
I also get the timeout on the receipts a lot of the time, so much so that I have now given up. But taking a picture on the phone wouldn’t have helped in this case, apart from having a record of the bike number. As far as I was concerned, I docked the bike and on doing my physical check making sure it didn’t come out again, it was docked. But apparently not in this case.
Today I saw the green light and gave the pull check, fingers crossed tonight.
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