Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland
ffutures

Cycle hire scheme

Three or four weeks ago a yellow "parking bay suspended" sign went up over three car parking spaces next to the place where I usually park my motorbike at work, saying that the work would start at the beginning of last week.

As the time got closer someone painted marks on the road to show the areas that were to be dug up - to my surprise it extended out of the three original bays, across a bit that was no parking, and into the motorbike bay. I was a little surprised, but there's another bay about a hundred yards away so it wasn't a huge problem. Except that two days out of the five I ended up having to park much further away because the bay was full.

What they've done is put in the bases for machines that will eventually dispense bicycles for hire. I have no trouble with this, but if I understand the charging model I can only assume that someone is being VERY optimistic. You have to pay a subscription (£1 a day or £5 a week), then use of a bike is free for the first half hour, then

£1 up to an hour
£4 1.5 hours
£6 2 hours
£10 2.5 hours
£15 3 hours
£35 6 hours
then £50 to a maximum of 24 hours

In order to make this work Transport for London are going to be building large metal structures IN THE ROAD on some fairly narrow streets - the things that they installed are just anchor points that will eventually be replaced by the machines. And they take up a surprising amount of space - looks like about a yard per bicycle.

This is an artist's impression that doesn't make it clear how much space this takes up:



I can't imagine what city this is supposed to be - it certainly isn't any part of London I recognize, and I suspect it's Boris Johnson's idea of what London would be like if he could only get rid of all those annoying cars.

I can sort of understand the idea but I suspect that they may be greatly underestimating how many bikes are going to be stolen, vandalised, etc., and overestimating how many people will want to use the scheme, given how horrible London's traffic is. They also seem to be going out of their way to put the hire points where they will obstruct fire engines, large trucks, etc.

Anyone live in a city that has a scheme like this? If so, does it actually work?

http://www.mayorwatch.co.uk/?s=cycle+hire

is a search that shows some articles about this. Don't expect them to be unbiased, it's the Mayor of London's office.

Meanwhile I'm wondering if Westminster City Council are even aware that the motorbike bay is affected by this and are planning to do anything about it. Since they're a separate entity to TFL it's entirely possible that there's been a breakdown in communications, if so this may take a while to resolve.
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