We Test New Phone App For Cycle Hire Scheme

Geoff Marshall
By Geoff Marshall Last edited 35 months ago
We Test New Phone App For Cycle Hire Scheme

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This week TfL brought out a handy new phone app for its cycle hire scheme in London. Branded with Santander colours and logos, the new technology is said to do a few fun things that no previous app has managed. We took it for a test to find out.

The main benefit of the app is that if you previously used a credit or debit card at the terminal to hire a bike, you can now do this from your phone. You still have to be registered and signed in to the app, but provided that's done, you can simply click 'hire now' and a new release code will be sent straight to your phone. You then have ten minutes to use it without any need to fight with the fiddly  touch-screen terminal that doesn't always work. Hurrah!

There's also a 'nearby docking stations' map that shows you all the docking stations in your vicinity. Useful, but unfortunately we couldn't find a way to scroll to another part of town to see if there was a docking station in the area we were heading to. However, there is a 'plan a journey' section where you can type in where you're going and receive multiple journey suggestions plus the time it takes to ride there and whether those roads are likely to be quiet or busy.

After you've finished with the bike, you get a notification of how long you had it, how much it cost and you can also see a list of all previous journeys too (something that you could previously do at the docking station but can now do with less hassle on your phone).

One thing we really wanted the app to do, but apparently it doesn't, is send you notification when you're nearing the end of your 30 minute free period, which would be extra useful if, say, you were wearing a smart watch.

If you are signed up for a yearly membership you'll have a key to use so the app is less useful, but could be handy if you're cycling with someone who isn't signed up.

The new Santander cycles app is available on Android and iPhone now.

Last Updated 13 May 2015

Phil L

If you have annual membership, you can view your journey history. You can see how close you were to avoiding the £2 fee when you go over 30 minutes!

Alexander Baxevanis

It does remind you when the 30 minutes are about to end, or at least it did it once for me when I hired a bike through the app. Not sure if it still sends you notifications if you hire a bike using your key, which is what I do most of the time.

I reviewed the app when it came out as well, and was not very impressed:
https://medium.com/@futureshap...

Paul

Is it available in different languages, as tourists particularly struggle with the oblique registration process at the terminals? It would be useful too if app would let one register faulty bikes or slots.

John Esslinger

It would be nice if they made an app for windows phones too.

Rob

What if you don't use the code within the 10 allotted minutes? Does it charge you anyway?