Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London announced plans for the Boris Bikes scheme to be extended into south-west London yesterday.
The expansion will launch late next year, with over 2,000 new bikes and around 5,000 new docking stations in place by spring 2014.
Almost half of the new extensions to the network will be south of the Thames.
Officially known as Barclays Cycle Hire, the scheme has been hugely successful with over 15million hires since its 2010 launch.
Registered cyclists can ride a bike for £1 from one of 587 stations across the capital and for half-an-hour before further charges set in. There are currently around 160,000 registered users of the scheme plus 8,333 bicycles available for use.
Boris Bikes were introduced to Tower Hamlets earlier this year and along with yesterday’s announced extension, docking stations around existing busy areas will be added too.
Since the east London expansion the number of average weekday hires increased by 50% to 30,000 per day and over 160,000 people are now registered on the scheme, leading to the network’s introduction south-west.
“Every Londoner should be able to take advantage of our hugely popular and iconic Barclays Cycle Hire scheme which has already bought untold benefits to London’s commuters, businesses and visitors alike,” the Mayor said yesterday.
“This further expansion will bring more than 2,000 new docking points south of the river as well as greatly enhancing the rest of the network.”
Plans for a westward expansion were first prepared by TfL last year. Over 200 suitable locations have since been identified across Wandsworth, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth and Hammersmith & Fulham boroughs.
TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, Leon Daniels, said: “There is huge appetite for the scheme in west and south-west London and bringing Barclays Cycle Hire to those areas will make public transport more accessible in those communities.”
Merton Council also voted in favour of being part of the expansion last night.
Liberal Democrat councillor Mary-Jane Jeanes proposed the motion for the opening of negotiations once public information sessions about the location of the new stations begins next month.
“I am delighted that the Council voted to begin negotiations with the Mayor of London about extending the Bike Hire Scheme to Merton,” she said.
“It’s also a great opportunity to look at what works and what doesn’t work about the existing scheme, and argue for improvements.”
Follow us on @SW_Londoner