London Bike Hire – Public Transport of the Future


As it was Climate Week last week and I went through different methods to help you reduce your carbon footprint, an obvious one I didn’t mention was not using a car at all. It is a completely carbon neutral method of transport, and a popular one used in London, where car traffic is slow moving and has charges for entering its congestion zone.

However, should you not own a bike, London has the Barclays Cycle hire, which is simple to use, is cheaper than using a bus and great for the environment and keeps you fit! You don’t have to be a member to use the bikes, (although membership has weekly, monthly and annual discounts) pay depending on the time you would need the bike, then you can cycle to your hearts content. Its available 24 hours a day 7 days a week making it one of the most reliable cheap services around.

You do not have to book to use the service, you literally turn up and ride away from the docking station later returning it to your destination’s nearest docking station.

Oliver O’Brien, of UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, wanted to see what effect a London tube strike had on the amount of usage on the Cycle Hire. Focusing on one docking station in Waterloo he used Transport for London data to track the journeys taken between 6am and midnight on October 4th, the day of the strike.

Here is a diagram of the outcome of his research, which not only looks impressive, but shows the direction people were travelling and the amount of people that took that route from Waterloo to their destination.

Barclays Cycle Hire

Apologies for the quality of the picture, but what it is showing is the direction that the cycles went from Waterloo. The thickness of the line indicates the amount of bikes that took that route. I love the picture, it shows how well the programme is working and it is a much more interesting way to display the facts instead of a boring chart of figures. The busiest line was connected to King’s Cross and Bank stations.

If it can work in London could it work in your town or city? I think it could work in Norwich!

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