Transport for London has began submitting planning applications for 400 cycle docking stations which will form the infrastructure backbone of the capital’s cycle hire scheme, expected to launch in May 2010.
The capital’s transport authority has been working alongside officials from the Royal Parks and nine boroughs in which the scheme will be based to identify suitable locations for the docks.
TfL says the aim is to ensure that people who wish to use or lock a bike will never be more than a couple of minutes away from a docking station.
A cycle hire scheme for London was first suggested by former Mayor Ken Livingstone after he witnessed the success of Pariss Velib scheme.
Introduction of a cycle hire scheme was also a key election promise of several candidates in last year’s Mayoral elections, including Mayor of London Boris Johnson who today said: “I pledged to deliver a cycling revolution across the city, and there is now a growing excitement about our cycle hire scheme, which will give all Londoners the opportunity to hop on a bike and experience the joys of cycling. Much like hailing a cab, people will be able to pick up one of 6,000 bikes, and zip around town to their hearts content – not only a quick, easy, and healthy option, but one that will also make London a more liveable city.”
Figures supplied by TfL suggest the scheme, which will initially offer 6,000 bikes for hire, will generate an additional 40,000 cycle journeys every day in central London.
David Brown, Managing Director of Surface Transport, Transport for London, promised the scheme “will be the most sustainable, environmentally friendly form of public transport ever seen in London, and will provide people with an inexpensive and convenient way of making short trips around London.”
London Assembly Member Jenny Jones says she welcomes the progress but is concerned the bikes will not be available in train stations, “Because it is so hard to take a bike on a train in the UK, these cycles should also be available to commuters who want to ride in London but can’t bring their own bikes with them.”
Jones added: “I want to see plans brought forward for lots hire cycles in train stations as soon as possible. If Network Rail is the sticking point, the Mayor should broker a deal, in the same way as his predecessor did over the Oyster card.”