London cycle hire scheme expands eastwards

London's cycle hire scheme
Image caption The are now 15,000 docking points across London

London's cycle hire scheme has been expanded to include more parts of east London.

Transport for London said 2,300 of the bikes would be available across the whole of the borough of Tower Hamlets, at 2,700 docking points.

The bicycles have been upgraded with new saddle and bell designs.

Extra bikes will also be available in other areas, including Hackney, Camden Town, Canary Wharf and White City, with an extra 2,100 docking points.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "Our wonderful blue bikes have changed the face of London and introduced a new form of public transport that has eased getting around our great city for thousands of Londoners and made the capital even more attractive to visitors."

And Tower Hamlet councillor Shahed Ali said: "Barclays Cycle Hire has already proved immensely popular in Tower Hamlets, with close to 45,000 trips starting or ending in the borough during January alone.

"The additional docking stations represent a significant investment in the borough from Tower Hamlets Council."

But Jenny Jones, the Green Party's mayoral candidate, has said while she was supportive of the scheme she felt the eastward expansion was a "gesture towards the Olympics".

She said people would still not be able to use the bikes at the Olympic Park because Barclays "is not a tier-one sponsor of the Olympics".

Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Brian Paddick said Tube and bus users were subsidising the scheme and that he wanted the hire scheme to work for all Londoners, not a small minority.

He pointed to a recent TfL survey which suggested an increasing number of bike hire members were unhappy with the scheme, which began in 2009.

Barclays will sponsor the scheme until 2018.

There are also plans to expand it to west and south-west London next year.

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