Santander cycles have busiest ever month in September – though Greenwich & Lewisham still waiting

Santander cycles recorded the largest number of hires in its 11 year history last month.

A TfL press release states “There were 1,219,804 hires during the month, an average of 40,660 daily hires – well above the 37,917 average daily hires in September last year and the 32,323 average daily hires in the three Septembers prior to the pandemic.”

Despite the growth, large areas of London still lack any cycles including Lewisham and Greenwich.

Convoys Wharf can assist with epxansion

TfL’s strained finances ensure boroughs need to contribute. Up to now neither have.

Southwark have recently used developer income to expand. They pooled £1,000,442 from a number of developments:

Southwark pooling S106 income for docking stations

That allowed an expansion to various sites near Cycle Highway 4:

Current and future hire locations. Blue dots are developer funded locations

Southwark council also state that docking stations will be installed in Camberwell and Peckham as well as the Old Kent Road by 2023.

Lewisham have stated they are now looking into it and will raise it with TfL at a meeting this month.

Greenwich have also stated support for the scheme but claim funding obstacles rather than use sources of funding such as developer income or revenue from traffic fines which are ringfenced to transport once costs are covered.

New blocks alongside cycle highway. No income allocated for cycle expansion – or collected at all so far.

Greenwich have a long track record in failing to use their own funds obtained from new development to top up TfL funding for transport projects via the Local Implementation Plan. They were last among Labour boroughs in London in doing so, and almost last of any borough before the pandemic.

Southwark funding

It was then revealed by TfL earlier this year that Greenwich council are last in London for income from developers obtained via the Community Infrastructure Levy despite being a borough with some of the highest build rates.

From TfL report. Greenwich’s low level cannot be explained by rates alone – which they have ability to change.

So not only are they not allocating money, they’re failing to even collect it.

Congested Creek Road in Greenwich
New builds in Greenwich

The council followed up to state they collect more income than Lewisham in a council report for councillors. However they were comparing old Lewisham data with up to date data in Greenwich. When compared like-for-like data, Lewisham have collected millions more income.

Totals up to 2019/20 in income collected by Lewisham from developers are £15.9 million and £8.4 million from Greenwich.

It would appear Greenwich have failed to collect millions owed to the authority which could assist with projects such as cycle hire expansion. Preliminary investigations have discovered £1.7 million owed with more likely to follow.

Saxon Wharf approved in Greenwich. No income allocated to cycle expansion

There’s a post coming up on that scrutiny meeting shortly.

Tower on left approved by Greenwich. Income for cycle expansion?

For now there’s no confirmed plans for expansion in Lewisham or Greenwich,. Developments to the east in area such as Woolwich continue to be built with no provision for cycle lanes alongside hampering expansion in years to come:

Plans to rebuild Morris Walk estate were approved last week which also leave little space for a cycle lane and bus lane:

Green verge leaves little space for cycle lane and bus lane

This all makes future expansion of not only cycle hire difficult but also usability if and when they ever appear this far into south east London.



Running a site alone takes time and a fair bit of money. Adverts are far from enough to cover it and my living costs as a private renter.

You can support me including via Paypal here

Another option is via Patreon by clicking here

You can also buy me a beer/coffee at Ko-fi here

There's also a Facebook page for the site here

Many thanks

J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    2 thoughts on “Santander cycles have busiest ever month in September – though Greenwich & Lewisham still waiting

    • Natch there’s an increase in numbers using Santander bikes, but does that just reflect the increased number of stations and cycles and the huge subsidy? Need to compare usage against supply number and cost of supply. And what’s the current taxpayer subsidy per average rental? We should make Santander bikes cost effective, not subsidised by those who will never use them, amongst which are the very elderly/infirm/disabled and those with a fear of cycling due to road dangers and those not able to cycle through poor balance. It also puts out of business current private hire companies (I have one of the very few remaining in London now and only because my overheads are so low as I own the property. And in Greenwich my style of cycle more suits the terrain here). It is also well within peoples means to buy an inexpensive cycle of their own, with tax incentives too and prices dropping even for e-bikes. Why don’t council concentrate on providing more cycle stands and secure places to leave a bike under surveillance? That would assist those who currently cannot put their cycle in their accommodation. Up the prices for Santander and make them pay for themselves, and even produce an income from tourists. Perhaps even help them provide cash profit for cycle lane improvements and road safety for cycling. That would help answer the critics who believe (Wrongly) that cyclists don’t pay for road space, and cut the road rage from those who believe that is the case.

    • Typical Lewisham council being amongst the last to have a plan. If Lewisham are stating that they are now looking into this then we are probably about 3-5 years away from these cycles launching in the borough as the planners are so slow.

      If Lewisham had these Santander Cycles then maybe the new cycle lanes that have popped up everywhere might get some use – at the moment no one is seen to be using them in Lewisham, Ladywell or Catford. Instead traffic has ground to a halt and pollution rises.

      Finally if Lewisham is looking into these cycles they should make sure they fairly distribute them across their whole borough. As a Lewisham resident on the border of Bromley and Southwark it is noticed that Lewisham only concentrates on Deptford, Central Lewisham and Catford for any new initiatives while the other parts of the borough get left out.


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.