A promise to extend the London Cycle Hire scheme across Southwark has come to nothing six years on, according to local Liberal Democrat councillors.
The Mayor’s Cycle Hire Scheme was launched in 2010 and initially covered the same area as the Congestion Charge for motor vehicles. In Southwark it covered the area bounded by Tower Bridge Road-New Kent Road-Newington Butts.
The bike hire scheme has been hugely successful and has helped make cycling a popular way to travel. Transport for London has estimated that 132,000 trips per year could be by bike in Southwark – the third highest in the capital.
In its 2014 council election manifesto Southwark Labour promised to: ‘…work with the Mayor to extend Bike Hire across the borough.’ To date though, the number of cycle hire stations in Southwark has barely changed.
This compares with other central London boroughs which have either seen an expansion in their network of stations and bikes available for hire, or which have part-funded their extension into new parts of London, such as Tower Hamlets, Hammersmith & Fulham and Wandsworth.
Liberal Democrats have long called for the cycle hire scheme to be expanded in Southwark. They have agreed with Transport for London that TfL will fund the ongoing costs for ten new docking stations east of Tower Bridge (Riverside ward) if the Council pays the up-front capital costs. Liberal Democrat councillors will meet with the Cabinet Member for Transport next week to discuss the issue.
Riverside Liberal Democrat councillor Hamish McCallum said:
“Southwark residents have literally got on their bikes and these past few years have seen a boom in the number of people travelling by bike in our borough.
“Both the previous and current London Mayors have funded major projects in Southwark, such as the Cycle Superhighways and Quietways networks, as well as other improvements.
“But the Labour council’s record on cycling has been shameful. Despite their promises, there has been no expansion of the cycle hire scheme in Southwark. Other boroughs have raced ahead, leaving Southwark on the starting line.
“Southwark Liberal Democrats will keep fighting residents’ corner to ensure the London Cycle Hire scheme is expanded in our borough so that the maximum number of residents can access a bike if they want to.”