The Barclays Cycle Hire scheme ‘lacks ambition’, according to London Assembly Green Party member Jenny Jones.
More than 1.5 million journeys were made in the first five months after the scheme launched in July 2010, with expansion east planned in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
That will introduce a further 2,000 iconic ‘Boris Bikes’ to the streets of London, taking the total to 8,000.
But, having visited nine towns to see whether the scheme can be expanded further, Jones insists London Mayor Boris Johnson should look to match the 24,000 bikes found in Paris’ Velib scheme.
“The Mayor has promised a cycling ‘revolution’ for the capital and would like to see one million trips made by bike per day by 2025, but our London scheme lacks ambition,” said Jones.
“By 2012, the London scheme will still have only a third of the bikes which Paris has. If the Mayor is serious about his target, then a small bike hire scheme which only generates an extra 40,000 journeys a day is well short of what London needs.”
As it stands, the Cycle Hire scheme is confined to central London, extending west to east from Kensington to Whitechapel and north to south from Mornington Crescent to the Oval.
Jones added: “A first step would be to make the scheme as big as the Paris scheme, which could mean extending it up to Camden and Hampstead in the north, Shepherd’s Bush in the west or to Clapham and Camberwell in the south.
“The cyclists I have spoken to on my visits have all been very supportive of the idea and there are so many beautiful places that aren’t in central London that can be explored on two wheels. We need more than a zone one cycling Mayor.”