Bicycles latest public transport in London from Friday

July 29th, 2010 - 9:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Chelsea By Venkata Vemuri
London, July 29 (IANS) Bicycles will become London’s latest mode of public transport from Friday.

By early Friday morning, 6,000 bicycles will be loaded into 350 bays - or docking stations - across nine boroughs for use by pre-paid registered members.

The bikes will beign to be loaded into bays in Camden, City of London, Hackney, Islington, Lambeth, Kensington & Chelsea, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Westminster and several Royal Parks from Thursday night.

Over 9,000 people have already registered for London’s bike hire scheme, a pet project of Mayor Boris Johnson.

Each registered person gets a personal electronic key. All the person has to do is go to the docking station, use to key to enter the bay, unlock the bicycle and zip.

Johnson said: “The excitement and enthusiasm for my flagship Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme is proving infectious.”

The project - the most expensive in Europe costing 140 million pounds - will be expanded to include casual use by tourists and visitors by August-end.

An annual subscription costs 45 pounds (plus a one-off 3 pounds charge for an electronic key), compared with 24.50 pounds for Paris’s VeLib bicycle hire scheme, 25.30 pounds for the Villo scheme in Brussels and 25.80 pounds for the Bicing scheme in Barcelona.

But a spokesperson for the project says for short trips of 30 minutes or less, hiring the bicycle will be the cheapest way to travel within the central London area, costing as little as 12 pence per day for those who register for annual membership.

(Venkata Vemuri can be contacted at venkata.v@ians.in)

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