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Transport for London postpones rollout of Santander Cycles e-bikes as it focuses on Queen’s funeral

Scheme users also report app not working after weekend upgrades; Met updates on Central London street closures

Transport for London (TfL) has postponed today’s planned introduction of e-bikes to the Santander Cycles hire scheme due to preparations for the Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey next week.

The scheme was closed at the weekend to update systems ahead of the rollout of the electric bikes, but a number of users have expressed frustration that the app is no longer working for them to hire standard bikes following the upgrade.

In a tweet, London’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman said: “After an extensive overhaul of the backend systems over the weekend, our Santander Hire bikes are back up and running – with the new tariffs.

“We’ll be delaying the roll out of the e-bikes until after this week as TfL focuses on helping with the preparations for HM Queen Funeral,” he added.

The introduction of e-bikes to the Santander Cycles fleet was announced last month, with Norman highlighting at the time that the pricing structure means that for journeys of 20 minutes or more they work out cheaper than hiring from commercial dockless e-bike operators, based on their prices at the time.

However, a number of users of the Santander Cycles scheme today discovered they were unable to hire standard bikes this morning due to the app not working, with one Twitter user saying that she had missed a meeting as a result.

In response, Santander said that there had been technical problems with the app following the upgrade at the weekend, which had now been resolved.

Meanwhile, a number of streets around Buckingham Palace, Green Park and St James’s Park are closed today and accessible only to pedestrians. EMBED

Roads closed include Constitution Hill and Birdcage Walk, both on the route of Cycleway 3, which is suspended between Hyde Park Corner and Great George Street at the south east corner of St James’s Park.

With preparations being made for Wednesday’s procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall where the Queen’s body will lie in state, further street closures including Whitehall and Parliament Square will take place later this week.

TfL has a page on its website containing advice to travellers during the mourning period, and says: “We are doing our best to keep our city moving and ensure that people can travel safely.”

It also advises people to plan ahead and allow plenty of time for their journeys, as well as following the directions of police, stewards and TfL staff.

Cyclists are advised to “avoid the roads that are closed to motor traffic and use alternatives if possible,” with TfL adding that “it may be too crowded to cycle in some areas” of Central London and that “you may need to dismount and walk at times.”

As we highlighted on our live blog this morning, the huge numbers of people heading to Westminster Hall for the lying in state will also impact travel in the heart of the capital.

According to an image tweeted by Guardian journalist Peter Walker, the queue is expected to extend from Potter’s Field, site of the former City Hall, along the South Bank and over Lambeth Bridge before turning towards the Palace of Westminster.

Londoners: Be prepared to devise another bike route

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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