FOI request detail

Cycle hire repairs and losses

Request ID: FOI-1206-1920
Date published: 19 August 2019

You asked

Hi FOI team! Please can you supply the following details re: Santander hire cycles (commonly known as Boris Bikes): * The total number bikes operating in London * The most popular hire stations (top 10?) * The most common types of repairs * The annual repairs budget * What is their "lifespan" * How many are lost each year (for the last 3 years) * How many are stolen each year (last 3 years) Thanks for your good work and best wishes

We answered

Our ref: FOI-1206-1920/GH 


Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 24 July 2019 asking for information about Santander cycles. 


Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy. I can confirm that we do hold the information you require. 


We routinely publish some of the information you have requested on our website:



The total number bikes operating in London 


At present there are 11,697 


The most popular hire stations (top 10?) 


·         Waterloo Station, Waterloo 

·         Belgrove Street, King's Cross 

·         Hyde Park Corner, Hyde Park 

·         Queen Street, Bank 

·         Albert Gate, Hyde Park 

·         Black Lion Gate, Kensington Gardens 

·         Hop Exchange, The Borough 

·         Wormwood Street, Liverpool Street 

·         Wellington Arch, Hyde Park 

·         Duke Street Hill, London Bridge 


* The most common types of repairs 



Part name 






Inner tube 


Headset axle washer 




Bicycle chain 


Crank security bolt 




Brake lever 


Brake cable 

This data covers the last 12 months. 


The annual repairs budget 

The repair budget for the bikes is included in the overall service fee for the Bike Management Contract. The specifics of how the service fee is broken down is commercially sensitive and is therefore exempt from disclosure under section 43(2). In this instance the section 43(2) exemption has been applied as disclosure of a more detailed breakdown of the service fee would be likely to make it harder for us to get the best possible price next time the contract is let, and compromise Serco in any bid to operate the scheme, or other schemes in the future. 


The use of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the public interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. We recognise the need for openness and transparency by public authorities, particularly where the expenditure of public money is concerned, but in this instance the public interest in ensuring that we are able to obtain the best value for public money outweighs the general public interest in increasing transparency of our processes. 


What is their "lifespan" 

There is no specific lifespan for the bikes. There are many bikes currently in use which were commissioned for the launch of the scheme in 2010. All bikes receive a full service at least once every 12 months. 


How many are lost each year (for the last 3 years) 


Please note that on average 75% of lost bikes return to the scheme. 


2017 – 565  

2018 – 870 

2019 (Jan – Mar) – 304* 


*Lost bikes in the last three months (Apr – Jun) are not calculated as yet as we wait to see how many bikes return to the scheme. It should also be noted that not all lost bikes are necessarily replaced.  


The figures above are from August 2017 only as this is when the Bike Management contract started. 


* How many are stolen each year (last 3 years) 

2017 – 2 

2018 – 24 

2019 (Jan – Mar) – 16* 


A stolen bike is a bike for which we have had a report (generally via our Contact Centre) that a bike has been stolen and then this doesn’t return to the system. 


If this is not the information you are looking for please do not hesitate to contact me. 


If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.


Yours sincerely 


Graham Hurt 

FOI Case Officer 

FOI Case Management Team 

General Counsel 

Transport for London 


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