Hiring one of London's Boris Bikes - now painted red and officially known as Santander Cycles - is set to get quicker with the announcement today of a new iPhone and Android app for the service.
The new app can get a release code for a bike without the user having to faff about with the docking station terminal.
Like the previous app, it also shows the nearest station, and the availability of bikes, though it's not able to reserve a bike.
To use the app, customers will register a bank card, then will be able to 'hire now' from a nearby docking station, and tap the code into a docking point to release a bike for use.
Other features of the new app include:
- Up-to-the minute information about which docking stations have bikes and spaces available
- Users can buy 24 hour and annual subscriptions
- Notifications showing the cost at the end of a hire period
- View recent journeys and charges
- Notification of exactly when a hire period has started, and confirmation the bike has been securely docked at the end
- Map-based TfL cycling journey planner, which shows users where they can hire a bike and how many are available at any one of the 750 docking stations
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "The new Santander Cycles App will make finding and hiring a bike in our great Capital city even more of a doddle. The App is packed full of handy new features and is part and parcel of our plans to take the cycle hire scheme to the next level and encourage more people on to two wheels."
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.