Mayor's Question Time
Wednesday, 14 December 2016
Question 2016/4505 (Oral)
What steps will you take to extend the cycle hire scheme?
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): I thank you for your question. I have said that I will be the most pro-cycling Mayor London has ever had and I am delivering on that promise. I will be spending £717 million over the course of the TfL business plan on cycling. This amounts to 5.5% of the TfL budget between 2017/18 and 2020/21, twice as much over five years as my predecessor. Our spending will now be the same per head as Denmark and the Netherlands. I know from the many hustings that we enjoyed during the mayoral election that your manifesto committed to spend around 3% of the budget on cycling, the equivalent of £420 million over the same period, and we are more or less doubling that. My increased budget will be put in to immediate good use, completing the North-South and East-West Cycle Superhighways, moving ahead ‑‑
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: My question is on the cycle hire scheme. What steps will you take to extend the cycle hire scheme? That is what the question says.
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): Sorry, Chairman, do we have two Chairs?
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: That is what my question says.
Tony Arbour AM (Chairman): No. I beg your pardon. Assembly Member Pidgeon is not satisfied with the answer you are giving. She is entitled to say so without any help from me.
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: My question was specifically on cycle hire, please.
Tony Arbour AM (Chairman): She [Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM] has tabled a question to you about cycle hire and does not believe you are giving her the appropriate answer and it is her time.
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): I did not realise that announcing the good news that I have doubled the spending on cycling is not relevant to the question or the fact that I have exceeded the many promises that she made during the campaign.
Tony Arbour AM (Chairman): As I have said earlier, I quite like the unscripted discussion; it does make this more fun. However, each Assembly Member has their own time and if they believe that you are not answering the question relevantly it is up to them to use their time in that way. Equally, it is up to you to answer the question in the best way you want.
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): I will pause in between paragraphs for their interruptions and see how we get on.
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: I just want to say that my first line is that I welcome the investment in cycling and it is great. However, I would really like you to answer about extending the cycle hire scheme and what plans you have, please.
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): The Santander cycle hire scheme covers more than 100 square kilometres of London with more than 12,000 bikes, which make it one of the largest cycle hire schemes in the world. I am pleased that since May 2016 400 docking points have been added to the network. Santander Cycles continues to grow in popularity with 2016 set to be the most successful year yet with over 10 million hires expected. My decision to freeze the cost of using Santander Cycles will help to increase its popularity further.
Many parts of London that lie just beyond the area currently covered by the scheme have a strong cycling culture that I would like to encourage and develop. I am interested in working with local stakeholders to assess options for expansion. For example, TfL is talking to council planners and land developers in Rotherhithe to discuss funding options to extend Santander Cycles as part of the Rotherhithe Peninsula urban developments and the Rotherhithe-to-Canary Wharf bridge programme as a result of the excellent lobbying by the fantastic MP Neil Coyle [Labour, Bermondsey & Old Southwark]. I know that Southwark and Lambeth also have ambitions to expand Santander Cycles further into their boroughs and TfL is talking to boroughs to explore this further.
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: I welcome what you are saying about expanding in Rotherhithe. As you know there are other places around London: Hackney, Richmond and others. In terms of Rotherhithe, previously the past extensions of cycle hire required boroughs to contribute around £2 million to each. Now, to extend to Rotherhithe, for example, TfL is asking for more like £20 million. It wants to add £200,000 per docking station. I am wondering whether you will review that requirement in order to expand the cycle hire scheme.
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): Neil Coyle MP has been in touch about this. We are talking to the councils. You will be aware that it is a partnership between councils and other stakeholders. We are speaking to Neil Coyle and the boroughs to see what he can do.
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: That is TfL’s requirement for £200,000. Will you talk to TfL to see whether that could be reduced considering previous extensions only required the boroughs to contribute £2 million in total? Just a yes or no.
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): We will carry on talking to council planners and land developers in Rotherhithe to determine if there are suitable funding options to extend Santander Cycles to Rotherhithe.
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: My final question relates to getting more people to use the scheme. Two-and-a-half years ago TfL stated that integrating cycle hire into Oyster and contactless would deliver at least a 25% increase in people using the cycle hire. Your TfL business plans shows the number of trips will plateau from 2018. Will you look at ensuring that cycle hire is easier to use by integrating it into Oyster and contactless systems?
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): TfL informed me that the cost of integrating the systems and adding Oyster readers to the 21,000 docking points in this scheme is prohibitive at this time. That said, technology is constantly changing and it may be that a more financially viable option is available in the future.
In the meantime we have introduced a new Santander Cycles mobile app so that customers can hire bikes faster by obtaining a release code through the app directly to their phones. This speeds up the hire process and is already proving popular with customers. We are also investigating ways that cycle hire might be further integrated into the overall fee structure, although this is in the very early stages.
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: In June  in answer to a Mayor’s question you said you intended to integrate cycle hire into Oyster and contactless payment capping. Does that mean you are changing your view on that?
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): That means that TfL informed me that the cost is prohibitive at the moment but we are looking as technology evolves ‑‑
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: You cannot do it at the moment, but you have an ambition that you would like to do that?
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): We are looking at how technology is evolving.
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: Finally, you will recall that during the mayoral election I talked about bringing some fun into the cycle hire scheme. Will you look at bringing in some limited-edition cycle hire bikes for events in London? We have Christmas at the moment and next year we have the World Athletics and Para Athletics. Would you consider bringing in a few limited-edition bikes to inject some fun into the scheme?
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): I like fun.
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: Is that a yes or a no?
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): I do like fun. I am not really sure what the question was.
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: I know you like fun. Would you look to bring in limited-edition cycle hire bikes?
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): I am always looking at ways we can encourage more people to hire our cycle hire bikes.
Tony Arbour AM (Chairman): Thanks very much.
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM: Thank you.