The steep decline in the number of cycle hires and therefore the revenue raised from user fees poses questions over whether this heavily subsidised scheme is really offering good value for money for the London taxpayer.
Given the very high capital costs of the scheme and the environmental, health and congestion-busting benefits of cycling, TfL should be encouraging the greatest possible use of the scheme by keeping user fees affordable instead of doubling them.
– Darren Johnson, London Assembly Green Party Member
It may be that the drop in cycle hire usage reflects a dip in cycling more broadly across London but the Mayor can address both problems by working with TfL to address cyclists' legitimate safety concerns and encouraging the uptake of cycling in our city, including on hire bikes.
– Mayor's Office spokesman
We are encouraged that contrary to claims that cycling is falling in the wake of the recent tragic deaths, we have seen no evidence of this from the hire figures for November. The year-on-year fall in this month was less than the year-on-year fall for September
The Mayor's Cycling Vision announced a concerted programme of improvements to Barclays Cycle Hire to drive uptake: new and expanded docking stations, changes to improve availability, and full integration with the rollout of contactless payment using credit, debit and charge cards.
- August 2012: 1,163,171 hires
- August 2013: 904,155 hires
- September 2012: 1,015,145 hires
- September 2013: 701,723 hires
- October 2012: 856,866 hires
- October 2013: 674,154 hires
- November 2012: 726,893 hires
- November 2013: 514,146 hires
Latest figures show the number of cyclists using Boris bikes was down by almost a third last month compared to the same time a year ago.
The Mayor's office says the fall in demand follows a record Olympic and Diamond Jubilee year. City Hall has dismissed suggestions that growing concern among Londoners over cycle safety, following 14 deaths this year, may be to blame.