Westminster docking stations among the least popular

mayor Boris Johnson’s much-hyped cycle hire scheme hasn’t hit the ground running in Westminster this week, user statistics have revealed.

Four of the borough’s docking stations have appeared this week in the least-used list set up by an independent organisation, London Cycle Explorer.

On Tuesday Lodge Road in St John’s Wood was the second least active out of the 335 stations now in use across London, with only 12 bikes being rented, compared to the most popular stop Stamford Street on Southbank, where more than 200 were hired on the same day.

Coming a close third and fourth in the least popular ranks were Lodge Road’s neighbouring rental sites Mallory Street and Lisson Grove, where just 13 and 14 bikes were docked or taken respectively.

Orsett Terrace in Bayswater was revealed to be the fifth least frequented station.

The St John’s Wood and Mallory Sreet stations were still in the bottom five yesterday.

In contrast, one of the more active stations in Westminster was Warwick Avenue, with 72 bikes passing through in a 24-hour period.

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St John’s Wood councillor, Cyril Nemeth, said he wasn’t surprised at the lack of cyclists docking in Lodge Road. “It’s not a clever place to have a bike rack because there aren’t that many people living there,” he said.

“It not a particularly convenient place to go to – you’re unlikely to start there and finish up there. They should have been more sensible about where they put the station and had more comments from councillors.”

Jeanette Buckley, who previously slammed a decision by Transport for London (TfL) to put a docking bay in the middle of the council estate where she lives in Lisson Grove, added: “People are taking bikes but they’re not prepared to put them back. Outsiders who hear things about the estate might feel dubious about coming in here late at night.”

And commenting on the Orsett Terrace location, chairman of the South East Bayswater Residents’ Association John Zamit said: “On balance it may have been a mistake, but it’s still early days.”

The data about the docking stations’ activity was extracted from TfL’s own online map of the bays.

It was published on a website called London Cycle Explorer set up by Tom Taylor, who specialises in developing internet projects.

He wrote in his blog: “I want to know that if I ride into town now, which stations are likely to be full, and which will probably have spaces.”

Mayor Boris Johnson’s cycle hire scheme was launched almost a month ago on July 30.

And while many support the idea, the scheme has been dogged by numerous teething problems including overcharging and docking stations not releasing bikes.

A TfL spokeswoman defended their choice of locations for the stations, saying that they were advised on the best places by Westminster Council.

She said: “By launching the scheme to members first, we are gaining valuable insights into how and when people use Barclays Cycle Hire and which of the 335 docking stations that are currently operational are the most regularly used.

“TfL worked very closely with the London boroughs to identify the most suitable locations for cycle hire docking stations, with all applications subject to planning consent and including a period of consultation.

“The boroughs, as the planning authorities, make the final decision on whether to approve the locations.”

Camden’s docking stations, meanwhile, have done well – proving popular with cyclists.