New cycle hire hubs in outer London and free rides for pensioners will be delivered under Christian Wolmar as Mayor of London, who also plans to halve the cost of using the bike hire scheme, it is announced today.
Wolmar is seeking selection by Labour members to be the party’s candidate in next year’s London elections. His grassroots campaign has distributed 10,000 spoke cards to cyclists in London over the past two months.
Today, Christian Wolmar said: “As Labour’s Mayor of London I will ensure that hire bikes can be paid for using Oyster or contactless cards and will encourage older people: those with Freedom Passes will not have to pay to use them.
“The bike hire scheme will be expanded significantly. There are still large gaps in the system in inner London. Large swathes of south London still have no bikes. At the moment this is very much a Zone 1 and 2 scheme, aimed at better-off Londoners. I want to turn it into a mass form of transport that will help to reduce congestion and encourage all Londoners to get on their bikes.”
Under Wolmar’s plan, Transport for London will run a competition asking outer London boroughs to bid for hubs in their town centres. These bikes will be expected to be used locally but as they will be the same as central London ones, they could be ridden all the way into town. This will represent a major expansion of the scheme.
Wolmar also wants to look at ways of getting more people to use the hire bikes for longer, especially to and from mainline stations. Wolmar said: “In Paris, people are able to hold on to their bikes for up to a month by paying a higher fee. That would mean they would not use expensive docking space and probably many will then eventually buy their own bikes.”
Christian Wolmar would also half the annual charge for using the bike hire scheme. The cost of using the bike hire scheme has doubled under Tory Mayor Boris Johnson, to £90. For those wary of using bikes, free Bikeability courses will be available to those purchasing an annual ticket.
And London’s pensioners would not even have to pay a penny to use the bike hire scheme under Christian Wolmar as London Mayor.
Christian Wolmar said: “Keeping active at all ages is an important part of modern health policy. I hope that some of London’s Freedom Pass-holders will consider using the hire bikes and will find it easier than expected, especially for short journeys.”
The cost of expanding the scheme will be met by scrapping several multi-million-pound road schemes proposed by Boris Johnson.
Christian Wolmar is the only non-career politician on Labour’s short-list for party selection to run for Mayor of London next year.
Wolmar is a lifelong Labour member, a journalist and author, who has been campaigning for three years to be selected as his party’s candidate in next year’s City Hall elections.