The private company that runs the London Cycle Hire scheme has been told
by Transport for London (TfL)
to improve its service after a series of administration errors.

Serco recently issued thousands of incorrect bills to Cycle Hire users, and TfL have issued the company with a ‘critical improvement plan’ to iron out the problems, according to the London Evening Standard.

The London Cycle Hire scheme officially launched on July 30 2010, and since then there have been five million hires. It’s been a vicitim of its own success, with some users struggling to find bikes to hire or to find a vacant space on a docking station when they have completed their journey.

TfL are expecting a surge in demand for the scheme this summer, with demand likely to increase further as the capital hosts the 2012 Olympic Games next July and August.

On the scheme’s opening day a ‘technical glitch’ meant that some users had a problem docking bikes and were incorrectly charged. TfL waived all fees for the day as a gesture of goodwill.

Serco were awarded a six-year contract in August 2009 by TfL to install and run the Cycle Hire scheme. The contract is valued at £140 million for the six year period. In addition to managing the Cycle Hire scheme, Serco operates the Dockland Light Railway, Woolwich Ferry and traffic lights for TfL. 

Have you experienced problems with the London Cycle Hire scheme? Or have you been incorrectly billed by Serco? Let us know in the comment box below this article.

Related links

Cycle Hire users get refund after technical glitch

Mayor Boris launches London Cycle Hire scheme

  • Graham

    I’ve been charged £50 on three occasions for supposedly not returning bike. In fact I cycled a mile docked it, light turned green, eveyrthing that’s supposed to happen. I’ve called four times and emailed and keep getting told someone will come back to me but no one ever does. That’s £150 in wrong charges and no one will even come back to me.

  • john

    “with some users struggling to find bikes to hire or to find a vacant space on a docking station when they have completed their journey.” Is a massive understatement! I try to use the service every day but usually fail! There is rarely a free bike on my way to work and after walking past 4 or more docking stations when I finally get a bike (and am almost at work) the docking point at my studio end is full. I have resorted to letting the tyres down so that the bike is not taken when I leave it un-docked at the station. I have asked for a refund on 2 occasions and have been denied twice. They say that my problem doesn’t fall outside of their terms and conditions. I have paid for a service that I have not received on many, many occasions. I’m livid!

  • Chris Betterton

    My experience is similar to Laura and John’s – keys regularily don’t work and it’s hit and miss whether you can actually hire a bike. During the winter there were far, far too many bikes out for the level of usage, meaning numerous occasions when I couldn’t find an empty docking station. The helpline is useless as well – the other day when I was finally connected all I got was people laughing and saying “tell them it doesn’t work” in the background.

    Serco should be fined, not just have funds witheld, and TFL should be looking for someone competent to run the scheme.

  • Laura Laker

    I’ve had so many problems with Barclays Bikes I’ve lost count of the times I’ve called them. The most common problem is being unable to use my key in the first place. I then have to call up their helpline and have my key refreshed. Sometimes it takes more than one call to fix this. The system is clearly having major teething problems. On one occasion I was attempting unsuccessfully to get a bike, one of the guys who relocate the bikes by van said even their keys malfunction on a regular basis.

  • john glew

    at present I am awaiting a response to many many complaints of TFLs bikes re. billing and costs wrongly charged for faulty keys and docking stations, but despite the promise of professionalism no one rings back..

    But let’s not forget the bikes are a great initiative but a business venture that behaves like this would not survive with out a public safety net/ backing of the mayors office.