The ‘Boris bikes’, London’s city cycle hire, could soon become part of the Oyster card scheme.
Transport for London is considering the possibility of adding bikes to the ubiquitous payment card, already used for most Tube and bus journeys within London. It believes that integrating cycle hire into Oyster could boost the largely static hire figures.
In a market research questionnaire issued this month, TfL says:
“In the future, you may be able to use your Oyster card and contactless payment card on Barclays Cycle Hire. By simply tapping your card on a reader next to the bike you would be able to pay and unlock the bike.”
The change would be an about-turn for TfL. In 2011, Mayor Boris Johnson stated “The Oyster system is highly complex, and the likely costs of implementing this means the [cycle hire] scheme does not accept Oyster cards and is unlikely to do so.”
However, with the increasing popularity of contactless credit and debit cards, TfL is currently rethinking its approach to Oyster – which is now more than 10 years old.
Any move to Oyster would need to take account of the deposit required for hiring a Boris bike. Currently, hirers are required to supply credit/debit card details in case the bike is stolen, damaged or simply returned late.