Hopes for expansion of Boris Bike cycle hire scheme punctured by Transport for London

A docking station in Camden. Hackney has comparatively few. © Copyright Bill Nicholls and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence CC BY-SA 2.0
A docking station in Camden. Hackney has comparatively few. © Copyright Bill Nicholls and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Expansion hopes for London’s Boris Bike scheme have been punctured after transport bosses admitted they are not currently focused on putting cycle hire docking stations outside of areas currently covered by the network.

London Citizen understands Transport for London (TfL) lacks funds to expand the scheme any further beyond its current footprint – despite calls from cycling campaigners for it to do so.

Jono Kenyon from a local branch of the London Cycling Campaign said that his borough, Hackney, had effectively been ignored by those in charge of distributing cycle hire docking points.

He added: “There’s no really good reason not to continue expanding a successful transportation scheme.

“Look at the Tube – it goes to Amersham, the countryside, and yet this part of inner London is not served by the cycle hire scheme. Hackney is pretty damn central, yet it isn’t served.”

Caroline Pidgeon, who chairs the London Assembly’s Transport Committee, strongly supports extending the scheme, saying it could help relieve pressure on overcrowded public transport.

The bikes first hit the streets in 2010 and were initially confined to the core of central London.

The public hire system, now officially known as Santander Cycles, soon expanded all the way west to Hammersmith and east to Poplar.

Some boroughs, for example Greenwich, appear to have been completely left out, however, and further expansion has now been put on ice – though TfL says it is happy to “discuss” it.

Paul Cowperthwaite, general manager of Santander Cycles, said: “At present, the main focus of the cycle hire scheme is to identify more sites within the area currently covered by the scheme.

“However, we are always happy to discuss further expansion, and actively engage with boroughs and private landowners to try and bring the benefits of the scheme to as many people as possible.

“Securing the required funding for both the capital and operational expenses related to expansion is a challenge, but there is potential to try and assemble a suitable funding package for new stations.”

Each cycle hire station costs around £200,000 to install and maintain.

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