London bike scheme set for July

Good news. On July 30 London will get its very own bike hire scheme based on the Parisian Vélib’ model. The former mayor Ken Livingstone first championed the idea and it has since been adopted as a pet project (alongside the Routemaster) by his successor, Boris Johnson. The scheme will preliminary roll out 6,000 bikes and 400 docking stations. Click here for details to find out when and where you can attend a special cycle hire roadshow to find out more.

Now for some constructive criticism. If the scheme is to have the impact that it deserves, it should be rolled out on a much larger scale. Paris is a smaller city than London and yet it caters for well over 20,000 bikes. We are only 2 years away from hosting the Olympics and should be in the business of encouraging more and more people to take up activities such as cycling. 6,000 bikes in a city of around 8 million is a tiny drop in the ocean. Furthermore, the area that will be originally served by the scheme only covers the area north of the river Thames and a fragment to the southeast. It’s bad enough that the tube doesn’t run in much of south London and taxi drivers avoid travelling “south of the river.” 

There is also the small issue of the logo.  Transport for London has decided to sell the space of its much-loved roundel to Barclays.  Mayor Watch is hopping mad:

Allowing the roundel – a true icon of London – to be absorbed into a glorified advert like this is pretty crass.

Apart from that, roll on July 30!


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