Boris Bikes

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Tuesday 16 August 2011 10.13pm
Hey all - just wondered if anyone had any problems returning a Boris/Barclays bike? I just couldn't find a stop at all tonight - took me 6 stations and ended up having to go to Tower Hill and walk. You'd have thought the bike people would leave some stalls empty - but then I guess people complain there aren't enough bikes!
TAK
Tuesday 16 August 2011 10.56pm
I've not been using it too much lately, but when using it in evenings I have found that the availability data I get through the apps as well as on the touch screens at the docking stations are not at all true. For example at Walworth Road Station it displayed three free docks at Strata - which is directly across the road- and could see from the distance that all docks were full.

About two months ago I cycled from Vauxhall to Elephant shortly after midnight. It took 10 stations all the way up to Union Street until I could finally dock. Needless to say the touchscreen sent me on a merry go round indicating there were docks free when there weren't in reality. Even the data the call centre had wasn't right.
I had similar but less extreme difficulties a couple of more times - but always weekdays later at night. Because of this I now start avoiding them late at night... which isn't really the idea of the scheme.

I've asked a few times the call centre for someone to call me as I'd like to discuss this problem with someone as I would expect the same happens to others if it happens to me. But apart from an email that my comments had been taken on board no-one ever rang.
Wednesday 17 August 2011 5.25am
I have had problems docking in SE1 in the evening recently also. I sense the are less actively emptying the docking stations in the area.

That being said, it's a pretty impossible task in my view.
Wednesday 17 August 2011 7.08am
I think what they do later on at night is replenish them (I've seen the car driving round with some on the back of a trailer). I would make sense if they left a few empty at least (or added a few more docking stations). I guess it's just luck of the draw but can be very frustrating!
Wednesday 17 August 2011 7.34am
mark_se1 wrote:
I would make sense if they left a few empty at least (or added a few more docking stations). I guess it's just luck of the draw but can be very frustrating!

They do. The docking stations just need to be twice as big... 4-8 open slots get filled in no time.
Wednesday 17 August 2011 8.31am
They replenish the racks so effectively there are no spaces. Hopeless to try using them late at night IMO.

And the data on available spaces issue is well known, just look on the borisbikes.co.uk forum.
Wednesday 17 August 2011 9.42am
Coo, it's like one of those thought experiment social game scenarios.

If you take a bike out at night it might be hard to find somewhere to dock it....the solution lies in more people using bikes at night, so that there are more free spaces....so should you actively try to take out bikes at night...or should you just hope that other people do that for you when you want to dock a bike at night?

...if you press it, they will come.
Wednesday 17 August 2011 11.16am
I too find that the docking stations in SE1 are usually full in the evenings.

Unless I'm leaving work before 6pm, I now don't bother with a Boris Bike as my nearest dock at the Bricklayers Arms roundabout is full by 7pm.

As a result, I haven't renewed my annual subscription.

It's disappointing that there are no plans to extend the scheme beyond the existing south eastern boundary - Walworth Road/Old Kent Road are not exactly miles from the city centre.
ADT
Wednesday 17 August 2011 12.30pm
The Bricklayers Arms one is often the first to empty in the morning and the first to fill in the evening in my experience. I agree that you need to leave work early to guarantee finding somewhere convenient. The same happens going from SE1 to work for me as well - if you're not early leaving in the morning then there won't be any spaces to park at the other end.

I guess that this will always happen due to the fact that most peoples journeys go the same direction, unless TFL install a vast excess of bikes and spaces, or an amazingly efficient redistribution scheme.

It does work very well as a way to pop home in the middle of the day though, or for other daytime journeys, like work-shops.
Thursday 18 August 2011 1.01am
I also had the same issue. picked up a bike at bricklayer's as it was raining. it was around midnight and I was only going to drop off nr bermondsey sq. my phone showed all 4 in the vicinity had availability and the stations themselves did too. I could not extend my time as they were still showing spaces. all had clearly been restocked- seats same height neatly lined up.
I went 3 times around 4 stations. with no luck. as a lone female out cycling around I didn't want to go further than the original pick up spot.
especially at 1245am.
I took the bike home and returned it at 715 the next morning. I then called to describe the issue.
I felt positive after the call and I was given the impression that as a victim of badly managed restocking, I would not be charged.
I received an email to say I would be charged.
I wrote a lengthy response and will then appeal to the ombudsman when (I assume) this will be turned down.
I think it is a disgrace, I will also not be renewing my subscription. I was an advocate of the scheme but following this fiasco will not recommend again.
I took out a bike for a 5 min journey in good faith, following 'live' information and will be charged 50 for being unable to drop it off.
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