Saturday, July 31, 2010

Boris Bike - My Experience

My first mention of the Boris Bike (sorry.... "Barclays Cycle Hire") was supposed to have been one about ease of use, good bike availability, working docking stations, wind blowing through my hair, fresh air and relaxation.

I was to be an early adopter. My electronic bike key arrived last Tuesday, I was away for 24 hours and then activated the key on-line.

Yesterday was Day 1 though, for various reasons I didn't use a bike. The plan was (and still is) that I am going to go into London today and will have a practice ride or two around central London. I am particularly encouraged by the email that I have received from the Scheme this morning that (a) describes me as a "Barclays Cycle Hire Pioneer" and (b) includes the sentence "As a way of saying thank you for your support we have agreed that no usage charges will be incurred by users today."

Now my real question is 'Can I trust them when they say I won't be charged usage fees today?'. The reason why I say this is that I have just come off the telephone from the Help Line having noticed that I have already been charged twice for my annual access charge to the scheme. If they can mess up with a once a year fee, what chance do they have of getting a Do Not Charge day to work?

So to sum up: I haven't yet used a bike, but if I use one today I can have it for longer than half an hour without paying a usage fee. I've paid forty eight quid twice and am now trying to persuade the Cycle Hire people that I am not fibbing, so that they will give me the money back.

As a public service, I also detail below the top tips for use of the scheme as emailed to me today:
  • When you undock your bike,don’t forget to remove your key from the key slot before you set off.
  • When you return your bike, wait until the light turns green to ensure you have successfully docked your cycle and completed your journey – remember – make sure you get a ‘green light and click at the end of every trip!’
  • If you have yet to activate your key, do remember to go online and click on “sign in” to activate it – otherwise you won’t be able to hire a cycle.
  • Look after the scheme – it belongs to London and Londoners. If you see someone vandalising the bikes or docking stations please report it.


Anonymous said...

I also got the email delivered at 12:30am (i.e. saturday). I called to confirm and they said it was for Friday that there were no usage fees, not today... So why did the send the email on saturday?...

Central User said...

Thanks Anon. The no usage fees is definitely for today, Saturday. A member of staff at a Hire Station made a particular point of telling me this morning.