WHAT’S guaranteed to upset a “Boris Bike” user almost as much as a flat tyre and a sky dark with rain clouds?
Finding that their nearest docking station is… er… not there.
Transport for London’s official cycle hire scheme maps show locations where you can pick up and drop off the two-wheeled vehicles. But at two sites in Westminster, docking stations marked on the map are nowhere to be seen, leading to huge confusion.
Murad Qureshi, Labour London Assembly member, says the two locations, which are on either side of the Marylebone flyover near Paddington would be perfect for docking stations.
Both non-existent stations are marked on the official hard copy map that TfL has been distributing to “Boris Bike” users for the past two weeks. In the online map only one appears.
TfL cannot explain why the stations are marked on the map.
Mr Qureshi said: “The locations are at a major juncture that people can get to by car, foot, bus or Tube. TfL would have no problem getting approval to put stations there as there would be unlikely to be any complaints. I don’t know why the docking stations haven’t materialised.
“I’m sure they would be better used than the ones in St John’s Wood.”
Although broadly supportive of the scheme, Mr Qureshi said he thought it would have been better if the resources allocated towards setting it up had been targeted to poorer areas of London or to areas where public transport is sparse, rather than merely to central London, which already has good public transport links.
He told West End Extra: “This is a colourful scheme but it will only benefit a small number of people in central London.”
A TfL spokesperson said local authorities, in this case the city council, had final responsibility for deciding whether a docking station goes ahead – but they did not explain why incorrect information had been included in TfL maps.
The spokesperson said: “Planning consent was granted by Westminster Council in December 2009 and February 2010 for the two proposed docking stations adjacent to the Marylebone flyover, subject to certain conditions being met. These include installing improved CCTV coverage and dropped kerbs to improve safety for cyclists. TfL is keen to progress this application and is liaising with the council to seek a solution that would allow work on these sites to go ahead.”
Rosemarie MacQueen, Westminster’s head of planning, said: “We have been incredibly supportive of the mayor’s bike hire scheme, granting permission for more than 150 bike stands across the city, as we see it as an important way of tackling the highly covered issues of climate change and a way of introducing more environmentally friendly transport into the city.
“We have supported by far the vast majority of the applications but we imposed conditions on the Marylebone flyover bike stands for safety reasons.
We asked for better lighting to be provided under the archway as well as CCTV and guard rails which should enable cyclists to come and go easily from the site, especially at night.”
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