Overnight, London has filled up with racks of bicycles in hot spots around the English capital.
Overnight, London has filled up with racks of bicycles in hot spots around the English capital. With an estimated 400 [this number is subject to change] new ‘Docking Stations’, London mayor Boris Johnson is hailing it as “a new dawn for the bicycle in the capital”. This new scheme, called Barclays Cycle Hire, allows users to, well, hire cycles. The docking stations, located in areas all around the city, including Camden, Hackney, Kensington and Chelsea and several of the Royal parks, permit users who have access to a debit or credit card [sorry, Oyster card not accepted] to hire these space age looking bikes by the hour, or even for the whole day [make sure it’s back before your 24hours is up, otherwise you turn into a pumpkin, at a hefty price].
With the ability to buy cycle-time at the docking stations, or to become a member online, means that these bicycles are extremely accessible for everyone, with a debit or credit card that is. With already 12,000 members already signed up since the opening of membership on 23rd July, today looks to be a big launch. These cycles have the ability to cut down on pollution, being an alternative to London cabs. Also, with the prices being so cheap, first 30minutes free, up to one hour £1, one and a half hours £4, two hours £6, so on and so forth, means that hiring a cycle will be a cheap and healthy alternative to public transport [I suppose it is just another form of public transport in a way]. Also, with the power to return your hired cycle to any of the 400 docking stations, means you can travel nearly anywhere. More docking stations than tube stations?! Lovely!
There are however some creases in the fabric that Boris has so gently cast over the city. Helmets. Where are the helmets? Unless you are going to carry one around with you, you won’t be issued with one. Hmmm….
What happens if your final destination docking station is full? You move on I guess.
Have you ever had a crazy night and done something crazy and ended up with some crazy scar/bump/bruise/memory? Yes, I have too. As the cycles are available 24hours, I can see them being a huge target for those late night revellers to everyones amusement. Not to the A&E ‘s though.
Also, you are not able to use these new shiny toys unless you have a credit or debit card. You should have one in this day and age I suppose. Tough luck. Get one. There are also fees for tardiness, a whopping £150 and damage fees of £300. You better cherish that bike; it costs more than my rent!
However, on the whole the pros definitely out way the cons and I hope, for the City’s sake that this new project of Boris’ takes off. I would love to see it work.
Contributed by Kate Searing