Monday, 9 August 2010

[Bankname] Cycle Hire Scheme 2

Well, I would have been too good, if things had gone smoothly after all the problems I have had so far.

On Friday, I cycled back from work and when I got to my local station (off the Elephant and Castle), there was no space to leave my bike. I had to cycle to another one. I had been told that there was a way to get an extra 15min free in case this happens but I haven't been able to find a mention of it and of how it works exactly.

It seems in any case that there is a problem with this station (I have reported it) since it remained full all week-end and people were not able to take bikes from it. I couldn't either when I tried this morning.

In any case I have heard and experienced what will no doubt become THE major problem of the scheme when the non-members can start using it at the end of the month: the repartition of the bikes during the day, with some station being either packed and not allowing people leave their bikes or other station being without available bikes (note that this could happen to the same stations depending on the time of day).

This morning I received an email from TfL, thanking me again for being a "pioneer member", as the call us and stating that "We are using these first weeks of operation to learn more about how Londoners engage with the scheme, including patterns of use and how we can best support customers."

Hopefully this means that they will have some system in place to shift bikes around during the day to keep some sort of balance. I did spot a car with a trailer with a capacity of a dozen bikes, the other day, so this may be it.

No mention of the other problems everyone has been experiencing in that email, incidentally...

Problems, such as that of the ghost docking stations. With our membership key we were sent a lovely map showing the location of all the 400 docking stations available. The problem is that only 315 have apparently been installed due to some councils refusing planning permissions, it seems. My experience seems to point at the Tory-held Westminster Council as a main culprit for blocking the Tory Mayor of London's project.

On a (slightly) brighter note, I finally got my call back on Sunday afternoon (way of the mark from the 24hrs that had been mentioned, though); and there the birghtness stops because the person who rang couldn't do anything about my problem (the count-down to the end of my access period starting 2 days too early, if you remember) and someone will have to call me back. Within 24hrs, of course...

Still loving the cycling though...

View my growing number of posts about the scheme here.

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