Recent disquiet from cyclists in London over cycle safety in the capital has not stopped Transport for London (TfL) spreading the news that there are more people cycling in London than ever and also taking a teeny bit of credit for that fact.
According to the latest figures from customer research into the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme, three quarters of members to the scheme have started to cycle in London as result of riding the hire bikes. On top of this 15% of members have increased the amount of time they cycle on their own bikes as a result of the cycle hire scheme.
Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, commenting on the research, said the launch of Barclays Cycle Hire has seen users make over nine million hires and as a result thousands of people living and visiting London had discovered that cycling was one of the most enjoyable ways to get around London.
Good for business
TfL was also at pains to point out that the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme is good for the local cycling business community with nearly one in five people (18%) having bought cycling equipment such as helmets and clothing with 4% of members buying a bike as a result of the scheme.
Sarcasm from us aside, there is no doubt the cycle hire scheme has made a positive contribution to cycling in London.
Members highlighted speed (19%), convenience (14%) and enjoyment (15%) as factors that contribute to a positive user experience of the scheme with over three quarters of members saying they would recommend the scheme to family and friends.
Having said that there is no doubt that there are areas of concern and room for improvement with the Barclays scheme. Complaints have been made about bike redistribution, customer service at the cycle hire scheme’s contact centre and people being overcharged on hires. Most of these problems lie with the cycle hire scheme operator Serco. Last year TfL withheld payment after Serco failed to reach yearly targets set for them.
A second phase of the scheme is now underway which will see the scheme extended outside of central London to include all of the Borough of Tower Hamlets as well as North Shoreditch in the Borough of Hackney, Camden Town and Westfield White City by spring 2012.
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