Bikes, Strikes, Snow and Ice

It’s been a challenging week for the Boris Bikers of London. Friday/Saturday/Sunday were very cold, but dry, days. Then Monday there was a tube strike, meaning many more occasional bike share cyclists would be on the streets. On Tuesday came the snow finally – it wasn’t settling on the streets of the city, unlike further north, but there was plenty of it coming down, and a strong wind made it a quite unpleasant day to be on the bike. Yesterday was a bit more pleasant, although there was some ice around and ongoing general travel disruption, while last night there was more snow, lying this time and causing more transport problems, particularly for the commuters.

The weather has been affecting outer London transport more than that in central London, so the time the Train+Bike commuters make it in has shifted back in the morning – but no such displacement happens in the evenings, as the transport problems don’t hit them until they finish their bike journey and try and get a train.

Some interesting usage patterns appear on the graph below. The graph shows the number of available spaces, the change of which is a good indicator of the number of Boris Bikes coasting around the streets.

Day Peak Morning Usage Peak Afternoon Usage Max No of Bikes In Use Special Events
Friday 26 November 08:52 17:52 599 Cold
Saturday 27 November N/A 12:54 201 Weekend
Sunday 28 November N/A 15:28 281 Weekend
Monday 29 November 11:34 18:20 1143 Tube strike
Tuesday 30 November 08:40 18:14 518 Snowing
Wednesday 1 December 11:50 18:24 735 Icy
Thursday 2 December 08:54 N/A 442* Snowing and Icy

* Based on morning rush-hour figures only.

(N.B The Bikes in Use measure is approximate, as it doesn’t take into account new docking stations added in the same day – there have been several recently – or bikes marked as faulty, which in the current weather conditions is likely to be a significant number.)

The computer system has also been struggling, with a big outage on Friday night and Wednesday morning, a blip at around 7am each day, and some other smaller outages. The system is presumably being upgraded at the moment for the imminent introduction of “casual” (i.e. non-member) hire, and the weather can’t have been helping with the electronics either.

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