Category Archives: charges

Changes coming to Boris bikes in 2015

It's been a successful year for the beautiful blue bikes, with the highest usage since launch, and new records set. And of course it's been the first full year with the bikes out as far as Hammersmith and Putney.

The rate of change has slowed (hence less posts on this blog!) but we are promised in the coming months new docking stations on Tower Hill, in Vauxhall and near Putney Pier.

And in a new announcement, we hear that TfL will seek to install up to 1,000 new docking points in the existing area covered by the scheme during 2015 - a great Christmas present for all Boris bikers.

Hire charges will also be simplified; it'll cost £2 per extra half hour after the first 30 minutes.
Between 80 and 90 percent of users of course complete their journey in under 30 minutes.

We still await the announcement of the new sponsor to replace Barclays, but with new plans afoot, and at last plans for more protected cycle lanes coming to London's streets, the future looks bright for cycle hire in London.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Higher Fares – Some Further Comments

Last week it was reported that Boris bike access charges will double from January 2013. There is some further useful comment on the folly of this decision on the Two Wheels Good blog.

I was contacted by the Evening Standard to get my view on funding and charges for the bikes. My suspicion is that when the edict came from City Hall to install the scheme across London they believed that the funding secured from Barclays plus the charges would cover the costs to finance the scheme. Now that this has not been the case, charges are rising to cover losses.

Some might argue that Boris should renegotiate a better deal with Barclays. I think it might be too late for that now, and actually it somewhat misses the point. Why should a major transport initiative be relyng on private sponsorship to make it viable? Exactly the same point can be made incidentally, for the Emirates Airline.

If TfL and the mayor are serious about introducing bikes across London to enable as many Londoners as possible to use them to get about cheaply, then they need to be properly financed from a central transport budget. Let's be clear - Boris bikes cost peanuts compared to Crossrail, or the reconstruction of London Bridge Station, or a new Northern Line to Battersea. Their initially low cost made them instruments of potential social transformation. But at £2 a go, why not take a bus, it'll be cheaper, or a tube, hardly more expensive. When the borough of Tower Hamlets, one of London's most deprived, agreed to put funds towards the bikes, did they realise a year later prices would be rising to rob local users of the cheap transport they had been promised?

If Boris biking is to have a future it should be funded centrally from a London-wide transport budget, not by dubious deals with commercial sponsors. Fare increases should be kept in line with other modes of transport, and the scheme affordable to less affluent Londoners. If not, I fear our love affair with the Boris bike might be over.

Boris Bike Charges to Double

TfL has announced that from the new year, cycle hire charges will increase from £1 to £2 for daily access, from £5 to £10 for a week, and from £45 to £90 for a year.

There are reports in various newspapers including the Telegraph and Metro.

A doubling of fares for cycle hire users is bad news for cycling in London. Much of the success of the scheme has owed to its value for money in comparison to other modes of transport, and by making these increases the Mayor risks losing the support Boris bikes have enjoyed since their introduction. Perhaps if we were assured that the extra income generated from the fare rises would be used solely for improving and expanding the network of bikes and docking stations, it might be justified, but what seems more likely is that users will end up paying for the bad deal Boris did with Barclays, which has failed to provide the necessary funds to make cycle hire financially viable. I would urge the Mayor to reconsider - Boris bikes are a sustainable and healthy way for Londoners to travel, these charge increases will simply discourage the revolution in cycling which the Mayor himself has claimed to support. There are already so many barriers to cycling in London - higher fares simply create one more.

I will be writing to my Assembly Member to ask for this decision to be reviewed. The funding of the Boris bike scheme needs a thorough review if the scheme is to remain popular, affordable and an encouragement towards London becoming a cycling city.