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H-B Designs News Blog

London Cycle Report

2 December 2010

London cycle superhighways


A new report from the London Assembly sets out key areas for improving the Mayor’s cycle hire and superhighway schemes if they are to maximize their objectives and prove value for money.

The report by the Assembly’s Transport Committee enthusiastically supports the cycle hire scheme but is less clear that the cycle superhighways are so far achieving their goals. It also identifies a number of questions about the quality of the operation of the schemes and their funding arrangements.

Chair of the Transport Committee, Val Shawcross AM, said:

“There is no doubt that the Cycle Hire Scheme has been embraced by Londoners and is delivering value for money for the user. It is less clear that the operating contract and sponsorship revenues are yet delivering the best deal for the taxpayer and we urge the Mayor and TfL to embrace the spirit of openness and publish full details of these significant contracts.

There are clear lessons that can and should be learned from the superhighway pilot schemes before we can be sure they are delivering on their objectives and are an effective use of scarce resources.

Cycle Hire Scheme

With over 100,000 registered members making up to 24,000 trips a day this has already proved a big hit with Londoners and there is significant demand for expansion in the scale and geographic coverage of the scheme.

The Committee’s survey of more than a thousand cyclists identified a number of teething problems in the cycle hire scheme, particularly in relation to registration, charging and poor customer service. The report sets out a number of potential solutions to these issues and asks the Mayor and TfL to report back on progress by March 2011.

Cycle superhighways

The report says the superhighways must do more to realize the objectives set for them and to justify the expense. The two pilot schemes are currently attracting 5,000 cyclists each day while the Mayor’s ambition is for the planned 12 Superhighways to generate 120,000 additional cycle trips each day. Only one per cent of respondents to the Committee’s survey had started cycling specifically as a result of the superhighway scheme.

In addition, the Superhighways were designed to provide safer cycling routes, yet the survey found that more than half of respondents did not feel any safer. Users also reported other problems, including the blue cycle lanes being too narrow, or disappearing at busy junctions.


The 12 planned cycle superhighways are expected to cost £166 million, of which £23 million has been allocated to the two pilots already in operation including nearly £1.5 million each for cycle parking, route promotion and training, maintenance and safety. It is not clear which of the costs of the superhighways are being directly funded from Barclays’ sponsorship.

£109 million has been allocated for the cycle hire scheme set up and implementation, including £30 million for its phase two expansion in East London. The report finds information about the precise nature and allocation of Barclay’s sponsorship of the scheme is opaque and that it remains unclear precisely how phase two will be funded.

While Transport for London (TfL) anticipates that annual operating costs of £18 million for the existing scheme will be covered by income from fares, delays in implementation and the roll out to casual users have affected both operating costs and revenue.


The report asks the Mayor and TfL to report back on how they are addressing issues raised by the committee, including:

Problems with registration, charges and poor service from Serco’s customer service center, as well as a lack of bikes and available docking points in certain areas should be addressed. Greater consistency in the features on future cycle superhighways, for example the width of the lanes, advanced stop lines and junction improvement.The potential to increase the amount of cycle parking.

Source: London cycle hire


Author: H-B Designs