Barclays Cyle Hire

WordPress users may have noticed not on the ‘tweet this’ button on posts, but the amusingly entitled ‘press this’ – which then tells me i’m cheating. This may be cheating, but as I was on the same failed journey I’m going to repress iamjasonhall’s post about Barclays Cycle Hire:

Sober, I decided I would jump on a ‘Boris Bike’ (erg, surely there’s a better nickname?) to take me home. I wandered up to Soho Square and, sure enough, there were three bikes parked on the north side. Unfortunately, the key in the slot this time elicited only an angry red light and try as I might I could not convince it to give up the goods. Another prospective cyclist flew into what I can only describe as ‘rental rage’ and tried using brute force to extract the two-wheeled bit of public transport. The bike won.

My companion then decided to ring up TfL and see what the deal was. After a good 10 minutes on the phone we were informed that the three remaining bikes where actually ‘locked’ (i.e. unrentable) because the previous users had returned them indicating they were faulty somehow. So, there they would sit, tantalizing any prospective users until such time they were repaired. Fair enough, I thought, better than hiring a bike that breaks down halfway to where you’re going.

So we asked the customer service bod where our nearest option was and, not really knowing any of the street names, walked west down Oxford Street on the basis that “Oxford Street has everything.” Well, let me tell you, Oxford Street does not have everything. It may have a Primark, it may two M&S stores, it may have twenty-eight H&Ms but a cycle hire rack? No.

Fortunately, an iphone was produced and it told us to walk north towards Goodge Street where we discovered a massive rack (easy does it)…with one bike on it. So that’s what the number 1 meant on the iphone app, it all made sense now…

I think the most annoying thing about the Barclays Cycle Hire is the way it doesn’t treat users intelligently. If all the bikes are locked because of a fult, why does it not tell me? If my key won’t work because I haven’t got any more access periods on it why does the terminal tell me it’s an “invalid key” and I have to spend 30 minutes on the phone to an adviser asking why it doesn’t work to find out?

Great stuff London, but sort out the teething problems and it can be brilliant. The technology’s there. And we’re cycling on your roads. Treat use intelligently.

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