Despite a summer and autumn of better weather, usage of London’s Barclay’s Cycle Hire ‘Boris bikes’ dropped substantially in the six months to November 2013 compared to the same period of the previous year, according to official figures.
Boris bikes were used almost a million fewer times in the period July-November 2013 compared to the same months in 2012 with 5,635,054 hires in 2012 and 4,606,565 in 2013 and, an 18 percent drop. Usage was down 5 percent in June and almost held steady in July, but was down 21-31 percent for the following four months.
Mayorwatch reported in April that satisfaction with the Boris Bike scheme had fallen since the price per hire was doubled from £1 to £2 at the beginning of 2013, with annual membership also doubling from £45 to £90.
Users felt that the service was “too expensive” and complained of docking stations not working, bikes not being available, and not being fixed quickly enough.
TfL recently announced that the expansion of the network into southwest London would be accompanied by an increase in the number of docking points in the existing network, to try and address some of these issues.
A spokesperson for London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “As was widely reported in June this year, 2013 has seen a drop in usage of the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme compared to the record Olympic and Jubilee year of 2012. As expected, these trends have continued into the autumn, with the year-on-year fall peaking in September.
“We are encouraged that contrary to claims that cycling is falling in the wake of the recent tragic deaths, we have seen no evidence of this from the hire figures for November.
“The year-on-year fall in this month was less than the year-on-year fall for September.”
If spreadsheets are your thing, you can get the usage figures from the London Assembly website.
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.