18 June 2010
Testing, testing: Hire bike docking stations installed
The first five docking stations for the London Hire Bike Scheme have been installed, and were being tested this morning by the techies from installation company Serco.
The five stations are all in Southwark, not far from Tate Modern.
West to east, they're on Stamford St, in front of Kings College; the junction of Stamford and Rennie St (top three pics); Southwark St, Bankside; Union St, opposite Ewer St; and Southwark St opposite Borough Market (fourth pic).
The most complete docking station is the Bankside one: some of the others still have fencing round the terminal posts.
The docking posts are all up, shiny and new. The hire terminals themselves won't be turned on to the public until the scheme goes live on 30 July, but we gatecrashed the enthusiastic and friendly Serco party.
We surreptitiously became possibly the first civilians to use the touch-screen technology. Until we were asked, politely, if we wouldn't mind stopping, because, er, it's crashing the system.
Enticingly, the screens suggest that the hire points will operate in a variety of languages - German, Spanish, French and Italian straight off, as well (eventually) as Arabic, Bengali, Mandarin, Hindi, Gujarati, Greek, Polish, Punjabi, Turkish, Tamil, Urdu and Vietnamese.
There have been 506 planning applications for docking stations so far, reports the Planning Blog. Of those, only 404 have so far been approved, with 78 withdrawn or refused.
A YouTube animated video has just gone up explaining how the scheme will work.
So, nip along to north Southwark and get a glimpse of what's to come this summer. We think it's good news in anyone's language.