Boris bike full docking stations

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Wednesday 14 September 2011 10.57pm
Have any Boris Bike users experienced problems docking their bike recently?

On Sunday evening shortly after Midnight (i.e. Monday a.m.) I tried to dock a bike at no less than 8 stations and all of them were full (2x Borough Road, 2x Harper Street, London Road, Webber Street, Borough High Street and Great Dover Street).

In frustration and tireness, I took the bike home and found somewhere else to dock it in the morning.

The following evening at around the same time I was annoyed to discover the same 8 stations were full once again, and again took I the bike home and docked it in the morning.

I have now been charged 100 for not docking the bikes in the required time, and although I have sent 2 e-mails of complaint on consecutive days and made a phone call of complaint, and have been told "these charges are valid and therefore payable".

I have now stopped using the bikes.

What I don't understand is:
1. How many full stations should one person visit before deeming the docking provision unacceptable?, and
2. When this situation arises, why can't bikes be re-distributed the following day to prevent this happening on 2 consecutive days?

My actions had no adverse consequence for the bike company, but their poor service cost me time, effort and a 100 fine as well!
Wednesday 14 September 2011 11.35pm
Nasty, seems like using these bikes on a Sunday evening is like trying to find a residents' parking space on a Sunday. Is there a phone app to find any empty spaces?
Wednesday 14 September 2011 11.38pm
Seems like in some ways Boris really did make Ken's bike scheme his own.
Thursday 15 September 2011 1.30am
Whenever I pass a docking station it is either completely empty or completely full!
Thursday 15 September 2011 6.24am
Why did you not just use the terminal to tell you where the nearest empty docking station was?
Thursday 15 September 2011 6.54am
se1lurker wrote:
Why did you not just use the terminal to tell you where the nearest empty docking station was?

I was with a friend who grabbed one to ride from Waterloo to Tower Bridge. Same issue as above, no docking space. So we tried using the terminal to find a docking space and the information they provided was totally incorrect.

So we went from docking station to docking station (3 in all)... all full... even though the terminal said there were spaces! In the end he has to cycle off and walk back... I have to say that it was an experience that put me off using them.
Thursday 15 September 2011 8.41am
graham wrote:
Nasty, seems like using these bikes on a Sunday evening is like trying to find a residents' parking space on a Sunday. Is there a phone app to find any empty spaces?
There is. The Android version is called Cycle Hire Widget - not sure about iPhone or other providers.
It is generally quite reliable, but there is obviously some delay in how often it is updated, so if a station only shows a couple of slots then you'll often find by the time you get there they are full.
Thursday 15 September 2011 9.34am
jonnyp42 wrote:
se1lurker wrote:
Why did you not just use the terminal to tell you where the nearest empty docking station was?

I was with a friend who grabbed one to ride from Waterloo to Tower Bridge. Same issue as above, no docking space. So we tried using the terminal to find a docking space and the information they provided was totally incorrect.

So we went from docking station to docking station (3 in all)... all full... even though the terminal said there were spaces! In the end he has to cycle off and walk back... I have to say that it was an experience that put me off using them.

I use the system every day and have been frustrated in the past with the API data being out of date. That being said, they rolled out a number of system improvements in August and the data is now very current, at maximum running 1 or 2 minutes behind "actual" status of each docking point.

There's a couple of websites you can find on Google that show you "live" how current the data is.

Give it another go, it is improving. I've noticed its much quicker to get a bike out recently as well (ie, to get a "green" light).

My iPhone app is very reliable showing me the status of empty docking points.
Thursday 15 September 2011 9.46am
I didn't renew my membership for similar reasons.

I regularly found Great Dover St and Bricklayers Arms docks full.

Don't understand why the scheme is being extended throughout the Isle of Dogs but not any further than Bricklayers Arms/Tower Bridge Rd.
CJG
Thursday 15 September 2011 10.03am
I and others had similar experiences on Monday evening. I was trying to get from Oval Way to Strata. I spent well over an hour following erroneous 'live' information from the docking stations about local availability. I also rang the TFL bike guys three separate times during my goose chase, hoping their info might be more accurate and / or they could send round a few of the vans to redistribute bikes.

They were very professional and understanding, but ultimately totally unhelpful. After about 90mins misdirection and misinformation I gave up, gave them the number of my bike and left it between two docked bikes outside Strata. By then I'd visited the docking stations at: Hampton Road, Strata x 2, Wansey St, Harper Road x 3, Swan St, Great Dover St, Borough High St, Webber St, Borough Road x 2, and Ontario Road. No spaces anywhere.

The last I was told by the call centre was that a van was in Kennington redistributing bikes and was heading straight to E&C afterwards. By then I had no confidence in anything they were telling me, so gave the number of my bike and left it. That was about 22.30. I printed out my last journey in the morning to see whether my bike had ended up safely docked somewhere. Mercifully, it showed that it had ended up docked somewhere by 04.30.

The system is currently suffering because TFL's live info and the management of the onstreet teams isn't adequate. It's a perfectly valid question to ask how many docking stations is it reasonable to pass, or how much time should one traipse around before it can be agreed that TFL have failed in their service provision?
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