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Weekend of free access to celebrate Boris Bikes’ fifth anniversary

No charges for Santander Cycles on August 22 and 23

Transport for London (TfL) are to mark five years of London’s bike hire scheme with a weekend of free access, reports the South London Press. Both regular users and those new to the scheme will be able to ride Boris Bikes without charge on August 22 and 23.

The capital’s cycle hire scheme, currently sponsored by Santander, was first launched in 2010. Since then, the number of bikes has almost doubled from 6,000 to 11,500 and the number of docking stations has increased from 400 to 748.

Nearly 43 million journeys have been made in the five years the scheme has been running, with a record of 73,000 hires in one day. There are now plans for an additional 1,000 docking stations and next year the scheme will expand eastwards into Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

"Our iconic cycle hire scheme has come a really long way since it began, with millions of miles cycled by people of all ages and ability across our great city. With expansion of the scheme eastwards and plans for scores more docking stations, it will soon be even easier for more people to get on board one of our sturdy two-wheelers.

"For anyone who’s yet to try out one of our trusty red bikes, I’d encourage you to give them a try. Whether it’s to get to and from work, or to take in the sights of the capital on a leisurely day out, Santander Cycles are surely the way to go.”

A smartphone app was launched in May and is now being used by around 70,000 people. As well as providing information about the nearest station and the availability of bikes, it also allows users to get a release code before they get to the docking station terminal to speed up the process of hiring a bike.

TfL is now looking into how it can better integrate online accounts with Oyster and Contactless Payment accounts so that users can see all their Tube, train, bus and cycle hire journeys in one place.

While users will no doubt welcome a streamlined payment system, there have been reports of people being overcharged due to faulty docking stations and having to wait for a refund. Earlier this month, we reported on one man who said he had been charged £298 for a 15-minute Boris Bike journey only to be told that there would be a 10-day decision process before he could be given a refund. 

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