No Boris Bikes for South East London

Barclay's Cycle Hire BicyclesAccording to a series of written replies from Mayor’s Question Time, we are unlikely to see the introduction of Boris’ Bikes to our area.

“One of the basic premises of the scheme is that a dense network of docking stations needs to be in place throughout the cycle hire zone, as users rely on the expectation that there will be a docking station close to their desired origin/destination. This means that to expand the scheme over even only a short distance would require a large number of docking stations.

The scheme will always be constrained by London’s natural geography and topography (in
particular hills, as they increase operational and redistribution costs) as lessons learnt from other schemes, notably Paris’ Vélib’ illustrate. These point to severe redistribution problems in areas with steep hills, as the vast majority of users are disinclined to climb up hills in order to dock bicycles. Central London is relatively flat but there are many hilly areas in the city which would present redistribution problems, mainly north and south of the centre. Given the need for one continuous zone, these hilly areas pose a barrier for extending cycle hire to flatter areas beyond them. ”

These areas would presumably include the likes of Blackheath, Sydenham Hill and Crystal Palace to the south, among others.

Press reports shortly after the launch of the Vélib’ scheme in Paris suggested that its operators encountered severe problems in ensuring widespread distribution of the hire bikes due to the habit of residents of areas such as Montmartre using them to coast down into the city centre on their morning commute, but returning home by other means.

Docking stations are not cheap either. A docking station comprising 25 docking points typically costs £70,000 to £100,000 to plan and install, as well as approximately £40,000 pa to operate and maintain, including all operational overheads.

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