Bike Hire Program a Major

On the average day, Boris Bikes attracts 9,617 users.

During one of the transit unions 24-hour strikes in early October, usage of Boris Bikes jumped 23% to 11,822.

Although the bike hire program has been fairly well-received in London, and increasingly so since the tube delays, it may be a purely London phenomenon for now. Residents in Harrow, for example, seem skeptical of the necessity and effectiveness of public bike rental program.

One Harrow resident, Richard Long, 38, commented that “Outside of London the bikes will have no use and, especially in Harrow, they would just be vandalized.” Another resident, a banker who wished to remain confidential, added that “everything is close by and people would use alternative ways to get into the city, people will either use the bus or their own cars. The only way that I can see the Boris Bikes working is if there are dockings in key areas such as the hospital, the main town centre, universities or the golf course.

Unlike Londoners, where people are accustomed to sharing space and public goods, Harrow residents cannot imagine publicly shared bikes. According to some high school students, “people will just take advantage of them.”

This attitude, however, may prove to be a temporary luxury if the current government continues to cut public spending. It is certainly possible that a future spending cut could lead to a reduction in bus services in cities like Harrow. Considering the general attitude of the current U.K. government towards spending, it might be a good idea for many cities to look into a program such as Boris Bikes.

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