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London Mayor opens up Cycle Hire Scheme data to smartphone app developers

With a month to go, TfL hopes developers can help users get most out of scheme

With exactly one month left before the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme goes live in London, the city’s Mayor Boris Johnson, has issued a call for developers of mobile phone apps to come up with ideas to help smartphone owners get the most out of the initiative.

The Mayor’s invitation follows a relaxation of the rules regarding commercial use of Transport for London (TfL) data, paving the way for developers to design apps that provide up-to-date information regarding docking stations, availability of hire bikes and routes around the city.

For now, TfL has made available example data relating to Barclays Cycle Hire locations on the TfL Developers’ Area of its website, adding that it will update details “of the location of all operational Barclays Cycle Hire locations as soon as possible.”

The Mayor of London’s Transport Advisor, Kulveer Ranger, said: “This scheme is the cornerstone of the cycle revolution the Mayor is bringing to the Capital and we want to make it as easy for Londoners to use as possible. Barclays Cycle Hire has got everybody talking and app developers are already recognising the opportunities that the scheme offers. They are incredibly creative people and I’m really looking forward to seeing and using the new apps.”

TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, David Brown, added: “Barclays Cycle Hire will be the most sustainable and environmentally friendly form of public transport ever seen in the Capital. We know that it will take time for the scheme to bed in and TfL is keen to use every means at our disposal to help people as they get used to it and apps will give people information at their finger-tips. By relaxing our terms and conditions we aim to encourage developers to create innovative apps and ensure they are based on reliable and accurate information.”

Meanwhile, if you can’t wait until Friday 30 July to try out the new hire bikes, you can sign up for free cycle safety training in one of the nine boroughs that play host to the scheme, while there will also be 45 road shows promoting the scheme around the capital. Full details of both are available on the TfL website.


Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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OldRidgeback | 13 years ago

How about an 'On your Bike' Tebbit app that directs the jobless towards the nearest employment?

I do think the London bike hire cycles could be made even uglier to further reduce their desirability to thieves by the way.

mattbianchi | 13 years ago

oooh! i like a bit of satire, me  4

how about an AR app for your iphone which replaces the shoddy, broken and flat-tyred hire bike with a 3D image of a shiny new one? cheaper than mending them  4

handlebarcam | 13 years ago

Perhaps an app for locating enough Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme bikes, for people who have been evicted from their homes by Barclays, so they and their entire family can ride to homeless shelter? It could include a route planner so they could make use of the Barclays Cycle Superhighway on the way.

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