A major extension of the ‘Boris bike’ scheme was launched today in east London.
Another 2,300 bikes and 4,800 docking points were added to the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme, which has been extended throughout the entire borough of Tower Hamlets, including Canary Wharf, the Isle of Dogs, Wapping, Poplar, Stepney Green, Mile End and Bow.
It has also been extended in Hackney to serve north Shoreditch and Hoxton.
The expansion area covers an additional 20 square kilometres and aims to connect the Olympic Park to central London ahead of the Games.
Councilor Shahed Ali, lead member for the environment at Tower Hamlets Council, said: “Barclays Cycle Hire has already proved immensely popular in Tower Hamlets, with close to 45,000 trips starting or ending in the borough during January alone.
“The scheme will make cycling even easier and more accessible to residents and help improve the transport links across the borough.”
The cycle hire scheme is operated by Transport for London and sponsored by Barclays Bank. It covers a total area of 65 square kilometres and has had 10 million hires so far.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Our wonderful blue bikes have changed the face of London and introduced a new form of public transport that has eased getting around our great city for thousands of Londoners and made the capital even more attractive to visitors.”
However, the scheme has been criticized over its sponsorship agreements, and earlier this year citizen journalists at MayorWatch disclosed that Tower Hamlets Council had been required to provide £2 million towards the scheme ahead of the extension.
Chris Smith of Tower Hamlets Green Party, said that while the party “applauds” the introduction of the scheme, it was critical of the cost to extend a scheme “less than 10 per cent of residents will use”.