Mayor Boris Johnson has been accused of being in “denial” over the falling popularity of his flagship cycle hire scheme.
According to official Transport for London and City Hall statistics, there were 1,473,824 fewer people hiring bikes in 2013 compared to 2012 – a fall of 15%.
The figures, published on the London Datastore, also show that for 9 months of 2013 usage was lower than in 2012. This includes an eight month run from May 2013.
Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly say this points to “a clear trend” rather than isolated drops which could reasonably be blamed on exceptional factors.
The fall continued in December 2013 despite a much publicised expansion of the scheme to Lambeth, Wandsworth and Hammersmith & Fulham which went live that month.
Caroline Pidgeon AM, Leader of the London Assembly Liberal Democrat Group, said: “As one of the strongest supporters of the cycle hire scheme it is immensely frustrating that the Mayor of London remains in denial over these appalling figures. The falling ridership is even worse when seen in context of the scheme expanding so much over the last two years.
“It is time the Mayor faced up to the fact that the poor running of the scheme and doubling of hire costs has contributed to many people just giving up using the bikes.
“A bit of honesty is now needed by the Mayor and TfL over what is going wrong so that we can turn around these dismal figures.”