Redesigned weather-protected docking stations, integration with Oyster cards and a bike buddy scheme could improve London's Barclays Cycle Hire scheme, according to City University London Msc students.
In a presentation made to senior Transport for London officials, greater integration of the bike hire scheme was a key recommendation, including the introduction of a 'Smart Oyster' integrated travel card for the hire bikes and all other transportation modes – with a built-in device in the bike's handlebar.
Other recommendated integration aspects included easier access to information about the scheme at Underground and Rail stations, as well as a membership scheme, with Silver and Gold Membership benefits, discounts, calorie trackers, etc.
Aside from integration, a bike buddy scheme could help address safety concerns with the option to hire a buddy (experienced cyclist) to help ride it around London, with in-kind benefits for the 'buddy' through discounts or free bicycle hire.
Docking station redesign was also cited as having potential for improvement. As well as being more aesthetically pleasing, new stations should include weather protection, added lights, security, a vending machine for bike equipment and an interactive domain map.
The recommendations were made by students on City University London’s MSc programmes in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership (MICL) and Human Centred Systems (HCS).
Professor Neil Maiden, Academic Lead for the MICL programme and Head of Centre for Human Computer Interaction Design (HCID) in City’s School of Informatics, said: “As part of their coursework, students were given a challenging brief to creatively think through all aspects of the Barclays Cycle Hire Service, from the software to the docking station design to rethinking the bicycles. They presented a well thought out and visually provocative collection of proposals which TfL officials were impressed with during the students’ presentations.”