Today sees a major eastern expansion of London's Barclays Cycle Hire scheme go live, meaning the scheme now covers 65km2 of the capital.
The extension has added 2,300 extra bikes and 4,800 extra docking points, with 2,700 new docking points across the East of London, the remainder (1,500) being installed in the original central zone. 600 new points have been provided in a spur west to the Westfield London Shopping Centre.
The move has extended the scheme by a third in size, less than two years since it launched. Over three hundred permanent jobs have been created in that time through employment and apprenticeship schemes – most roles related to the maintenance of new and existing sites, bike maintenance and customer service.
“Our wonderful blue bikes have changed the face of London and introduced a new form of public transport that has eased getting around our great city for thousands of Londoners and made the capital even more attractive to visitors," enthused Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
"I am delighted to have kept my promise to provide a cycle hire scheme for the people of London and today we have made it even bigger and better than ever before."
'Boris Bikes' now stretch from Shepherd’s Bush in the west of the capital, through central London and east to the fringes of the Olympic Park. Over 2,300 new bikes are being provided as part of the expansion that have been upgraded from the earlier model to feature a new saddle design and redesigned bell. In total over 8,000 bikes will now be available from over 570 docking stations and 15,000 docking points.
Barclays chairman Marcus Agius, added: “I am delighted that we are launching the extension of Barclays Cycle Hire today. The scheme makes a positive difference to everyday life in London, its people, and the economy. Taking it to east London is an exciting development for Barclays as we will have the scheme on the doorstep of our Global Headquarters in Canary Wharf. ‘Citizenship’ is one of our strategic priorities at Barclays and this scheme is a great example of this.”
Hundreds of residents from across the eastern expansion area have attended community sessions to find out more about the scheme, says TfL. Over thirty community contacts are participating in a pilot project to become Ambassadors to promote Barclays Cycle Hire to their members and colleagues.
Councillor Shahed Ali, Lead Member for the Environment, Tower Hamlets Council, said: “Barclays Cycle Hire has already proved immensely popular in Tower Hamlets, with close to 45,000 trips starting or ending in the borough during January alone. The additional docking stations represent a significant investment in the borough from Tower Hamlets Council. The scheme will make cycling even easier and more accessible to residents and help improve the transport links across the borough.
"It’s great to see so many people using bikes to get around the borough, but we cannot ignore the safety issues that still exist. Tower Hamlets Council will continue to work hard to promote cycling safety to our residents through free cycle training sessions and other initiatives."