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Author Topic: Glitch means London bike hire users travel for free (BBC News 31/07/2010)  (Read 851 times)
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« on: July 31, 2010, 06:04:41 pm »

From the BBC:

Cyclists who used London's bike hire scheme on its first day will not be billed because of technical problems. Transport for London (TfL) said it had waived Friday's charges after a small number of riders experienced problems docking the bikes.

One woman who tried to use a bicycle on Friday said she was billed for 11 hours' use even though she could not get the cycle to unlock.

TfL said more than 6,000 journeys were carried out on Friday.

At least 12,000 people have signed up to the bike scheme, which allows them to use one of 5,000 bikes parked at 330 locations across central London.

Angela from Kennington, who did not want to reveal her surname, said: "Unfortunately I couldn't pull the bike out. [But] the computer's reporting that I've been cycling for 11 hours, 11 minutes and 11 seconds."

On Saturday, users were sent emails thanking them for taking part and telling them that they would not be charged for the first day. TfL admitted it was expected a few "teething problems".

Cycle scheme project manager, Nicholas Aldworth, said: "We have had some people call the contact centre and say they aren't sure if they've docked their bike or their trip record doesn't show the time they thought they had the bike out. So we've said, 'yes we'll waive those charges today [Friday] and investigate some of those things'. We think we're probably talking in the tens, certainly not the hundreds [that have been affected]. He added: "It's really important that when people want to dock these bikes they give it a really good shove into the docking point, they look for the green light, wait for the click and that's all okay it's locked."

Docking stations

Londoners who sign up to the scheme are sent keys which enable they to unlock bikes at the docking points across the city. The keys cost ^3 and the cost of using the cycles varies from ^1 for an hour to ^50 for 24 hours. Docking stations are available in Camden, City of London, Hackney, Islington, Lambeth, Kensington and Chelsea, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Westminster and several of the Royal Parks.

TfL is hoping to reach its target of 6,000 cycles and 400 docking stations later this year.

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