The number of people borrowing a bike from the capital’s cycle hire scheme fell by 10% in January despite a recent expansion into South West London and the addition of 2,000 new bikes.
Despite expanding into Lambeth, Wandsworth and Hammersmith & Fulham in December, the number of hires fell from 565,589 in January 2013 to 498,870 in January 2014.
Last week it emerged that the expansion went ahead despite Transport for London failing to secure an expected £10m from scheme sponsors Barclays.
The costs of the expansion have been met by farepayers, scheme users and local council tax residents whose boroughs contributed more than £4m despite receiving minimal acknowledgement from TfL.
Last year Mayor Boris Johnson and TfL doubled the annual membership fee from £45 per year to £90, a move TfL’s own polling blamed for increased cancellations and which failed to deliver a projected revenue boost.
There has been a continued fall in the number of hires since August 2013 with each month seeing lower cycle hire figures in the previous year.
Commenting on the latest figures Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the London Assembly, said: “The cycle hire scheme is getting bigger but fewer people are using it. These figures should be a wake up call to the Mayor that something is seriously wrong with the running of the scheme.
“Last week we had news that London’s cycle scheme underwent a major expansion last year without funding from its sponsor. Now we discover that even with this large expansion of the scheme it is just not attracting people onto the bikes.
“Instead of boasting about the cycle hire scheme the Mayor should take a good look at the hire figures and be honest with Londoners that the scheme needs to improve.”
“A better distribution of bikes across the docking stations and changes to the charges are now desperately needed.”