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Friday, 29 April 2011

On our bikes

TV Presenter Grant Stott and Kulveer Ranger flank the
TfL Barclays CycleHire Scheme team at the awards presentation
It is the night before the Royal Wedding and we are assembled at the Novotel in Hammersmith for the London Transport Awards 2011 presented in association with the Transport Times.

In something of a contrast Vice Chair of TfL Daniel Moylan opened the proceedings and former Mayor Ken Livingstone gave the after-dinner address. Much was made of all of the achievements which have been made in London plus also what needs to be done to maintain London's position in the league table of capital cities.

My sincere congratulations to my team who won the prize for the Most Innovative Transport Project - the part of TfL Surface Transport who brought us the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme. This was a project which was delivered in double-quick time and has become a huge success in London. Further expansion is now being planned. There are already almost 400 docking stations in London and one in five users is new to cycling.

Unlike comparable systems in other cities we have had almost no pilferage and there is a high degree of confidence in the system which is open to members (who pay a fee) and casual users. We've just had our busiest day ever.

A very well-deserved award, ahead of a short night before the busy Friday ahead and the Royal Wedding!



  1. I don't think "confidence" is the right word. I have seen several comments on various Internet forums by people who had to stop using the scheme for repeatedly not being able to get or get rid of a bike. I am fortunate it seems to use stations that are not that popular and am able to do most of my travelling in central London on the bikes (I am lucky to live at the edge of zone 1). I love the scheme and I use it virtually every day BUT I live in dread of something going wrong. It means I have to ring the call centre which is usually not very helpful (every time I have been told I would be called back, I wasn't).

    At the moment, there is a problem in my area (elephant and castle) with fictitious availability data at the stations. This doesn't help when some one from the reallocation team decide it's a good idea to fill all the local stations. If I get home after 8pm, I am sometimes forced to tour at least 5 stations to find a point and ten I have to walk from wherever I am (this usually takes at least as long as my trip). I am also not able to request my extra 15 min as the stations don't seem to recognise that they are full.

    I have reported this several times already but I am not sure the info goes further than the person I talk to (despite my insisting that it be reported).

    When things work, the scheme is great but when something goes belly-up, it's usually only the beginning of the agro.

    So, no, I wouldn't say I am have confidence in the scheme.

  2. Another example fresh from this morning why "confidence" is not the right word.

    3 phone calls and 53 min (most of it on hold) to be able to use the scheme (I had an open journey, even though the station had given a me a green light) and question a £9 charge on my account (all invented by the system).

    The first person I talked didn't recognise the problem correctly and put me on hold a good 15min to find out where that £9 charge came from). Then I had to wait about 30min for the "rapid response team" (or whatever you call it) to deign picking up the phone and sort my problem (that took 2min once they answered).

    I can now feel my stress levels go up everytime I try and ring the "help"line as I am pretty sure that I will be getting very little help indeed.