Cycle Hire Scheme In Central London
In 2010 the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme was introduced to London after the runaway success of a similar scheme in Paris.
The scheme is sponsored by Barclays the bank but regulated by Transport for London as part of the general transport infrastructure of London.
Just like Paris the scheme has been very popular and you see the distinctive bikes all over London.
Its not a traditional cycle hire scheme where you rent for the day and return the bike back to where you hired it from.
Instead all around London you will see racks of bikes like the one on the video clip below.
The idea is you pick any bike up from one of these racks, cycle to where you want to go and put the bike in another rack at your destination.
The charges are aligned to this concept. A 30 minute ride is free and start to get expensive if you keep it for more than 2 hours.
There are no locks on the bikes and its £300 if the bike is stolen – so heavy incentives to just use the bikes for A to B.
Coverage around London is very good.
Anyone can use the bikes, locals and visitors. About 25% of hires are from casual visitors which are mostly visitors.
The busiest docking station, as the bike racks are called is Waterloo – London’s busiest train station – used by commuters when they get off their train to cycle to work.
Kids under 14 are not allowed on the bikes.
There are two schemes to use the bikes.
The locals become members and get their own access key which unlocks the bikes and records their trips.
Visitors are called “casual users”. Basically you register at the docking stations (there is a web site too) with your credit/debit card to 0pen an account.
There is a 1 day access charge of £1, or £5 for a week.
Each time you hire you get a release code from the docking station.
Charging is very similar to Oyster Cards where your account is debited each journey you make.
The video clip below takes you through the process and details current pricing and charges.