Despite a summer and autumn of better weather, usage of London’s Barclay’s Cycle Hire ‘Boris bikes’ dropped substantially in the six months to November 2013 compared to the same period of the previous year, according to official figures.
Boris bikes were used almost a million fewer times in the period July-November 2013 compared to the same months in 2012 with 5,635,054 hires in 2012 and 4,606,565 in 2013 and, an 18 percent drop. Usage was down 5 percent in June and almost held steady in July, but was down 21-31 percent for the following four months.
Mayorwatch reported in April that satisfaction with the Boris Bike scheme had fallen since the price per hire was doubled from £1 to £2 at the beginning of 2013, with annual membership also doubling from £45 to £90.
Users felt that the service was “too expensive” and complained of docking stations not working, bikes not being available, and not being fixed quickly enough.
TfL recently announced that the expansion of the network into southwest London would be accompanied by an increase in the number of docking points in the existing network, to try and address some of these issues.
A spokesperson for London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “As was widely reported in June this year, 2013 has seen a drop in usage of the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme compared to the record Olympic and Jubilee year of 2012. As expected, these trends have continued into the autumn, with the year-on-year fall peaking in September.
“We are encouraged that contrary to claims that cycling is falling in the wake of the recent tragic deaths, we have seen no evidence of this from the hire figures for November.
“The year-on-year fall in this month was less than the year-on-year fall for September.”
If spreadsheets are your thing, you can get the usage figures from the London Assembly website.
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.