Ride up to London Fields: Boris Bikes dock in E8

*UPDATE: Since Barclays Bank’s sponsorship was succeeded by another megabank’s, as was Boris Johnson’s occupancy of the mayoralty, Londoners have not yet chosen a new name for the clunky but increasingly convenient commute help-outs. The verdict of time is awaited. — Ed.


BARCLAYS BIKE docking stations are finally creeping higher into Hackney. A site in Lamb Lane E8 3PJ near London Fields, above, is where Transport for London is seeking permission from Hackney council.

TfL says the post will have “31 docking points”. It has been looking with the help of boroughs since last year for at least 200 suitable locations, and this is the strongest sign of progress northwards. The northernmost stations at present are in Haggerston, at Regent’s Row and Queensbridge and Whiston roads.

Though widely known as Boris Bikes after London’s cycling mayor, Boris Johnson, the progenitor of the hire scheme was previous mayor Ken Livingstone, who seems to have been slightly irritated by its subsequent popularity, especially with the young. Usage of the bikes, TfL reports, has risen by more than 35 per cent in the last 12 months.

The scheme still faces criticism: Guardian journalist Dave Hill blogged that the private subsidy, from Barclays Bankwas being used up. He added that the “taxpayer contribution is expected to have more than doubled to £225 million by 2016 and hard-pressed London boroughs will be required to stump up some of the cost of the scheme’s expansion into their territories”.

Johnson had promised in 2008 that the scheme would not cost the taxpayer. Hill also raised safety worries.

The hire price rose early this year 2013 from £1 to £2 a day and £5 to £10 weekly. Up to 30 minutes is free.

Hamish Scott 180113

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