Cycle Hire woes

  • By idavid on at 6:04am 8 June 2011
  • Posted in: General
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Anyone else suffering from "won't release bike but still get charged" syndrome?

Another incidence in Covent Garden yesterday. Previously, tedious calls to TfL's call centre have resulted in a replacement key, but no refund and no improvement.

Can I be bothered with 25 mins to an 0845 just for £1? Easier to use another mode, sorry Boris.

I see Serco have been "fined" £5m for screwing up. I am clearly not alone. Big stick might make City Hall feel better, but hardly helps contractor fix the problem.


I use a hire bike two or four times a week. Lately, I have been unable to release a bike because the system is saying I didn't dock the bike at end of last hire. But I always check for the green LED on docking. Serco advise printing out a journey record at the terminal as that will re-set the key; but even though the dock-slot led has gone green, this does not necessarily work. I can walk, thanks to physiotherapy, but Boris-Bikes are less than a reliable service.
I have discovered that the comfortable way of releasing a bike is to lift the rear by the reflector housing while you are waiting for the green LED; on green, drop the bike, and its yours. But I deny responsibility for the missing reflectors on an increasing number of hire-bikes!

I haven't been able to use the system for months. I now have a new issue credit card and the Barclays system refused to accept any updated info, so it thinks my card has expired and that I owe them £6.

I have tried over 10 times on the website, twice by phone and sent 3 emails. It still doesn't work.  This has taken so long that my credit card (EGG) has been taken over by Barclaycard. Even that didn't make it work.

What should I do now?

  • By mike_c at 1:06am 6 August 2011

I must lead a charmed life as I've not had any problems in a whole year of occasional use. Though my friend who was visiting London and did a day's casual use (on a hot Sunday a couple of weeks back) had all kinds of problems with bikes not releasing. We phoned Serco and they advised us to walk to the next docking station (I rode, of course :-)

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