Cycle hires hit a record monthly high

Santander bike Chris Warham shutterstock_307029647-2

Photo: Chris Warham | Shutterstock

July 2016 was the most successful month for Santander Cycle hire since the bike-sharing scheme was first introduced in 2010.

A record 1.18 million bikes were hired across London last month, an average of 38,000 hires a for each day of the month.  The data from Transport for London shows that on three days, 19th, 30th and 31st of July there were more than 46,000 hires. The average hire time was 23 minutes.

The monthly total beats the previous record for July 2014 by 5,200.  Summer months always prove the most popular times and monthly hires were also over one million in May and just under in June.  The number of hires in January and February this year was around half the July total.

The city bike scheme was introduced on 30th July 2010. In the first two days 12,000 bikes were hired and in the first month 340,000 as the scheme was rolled out across the boroughs and the docking stations became a familiar sight on the streets.

The data shows that the most popular day in the scheme’s six-year existence was 9th July last year when 73,000 bikes were hired.  On the 6th August that year the second highest total was recorded of 64,000.

Mainline stations are the popular hire points, as previously reported by Urbs, as commuters arriving from outside London and make their way to work in the morning and afternoon rush hours.

But the hire data at major landmarks and parks also suggests that tourists may be the biggest users of the bikes, with routes across Hyde Park among the most popular. The data shows that weekends see the largest usage and the most popular weekday for hire is a Thursday.

The bike sharing scheme was introduced by Boris Johnson when he was Mayor and the bicycles  became known as Boris bikes despite a sponsorship deal with Barclays.  Santander took over sponsorship of the scheme last year, but the bikes have not gone on to be re-named Sadiq cycles.

Source data

See also

Tourists biggest users of Boris Bikes

Americans back on top as London’s biggest visitors

How London compares for the cost of public transport

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Americans back on top as London’s biggest visitors

River Tower Br ShardAmericans were London’s leading overseas visitors last year after 8 years of being outnumbered by the French.

The surge from the States helped make 2015 another record-breaking year for the capital as, predicted by Urbs.  Data from Visit Britain shows that the capital welcomed 18.5 million people from around the world for leisure, education, business and family visits.

2.1 million of those visitors, or 11.5%, came from America, narrowly beating the French, although visitor numbers from France were also slightly up on 2014. Polish visitors pushed into the top 10 for the first time in 2015.

tourist data graph .001-2

As well as being the largest group, Americans also spent the most. Of the £11.9 billion the city generated from tourism, nearly a tenth came from American wallets alone last year.

London’s highest spending European visitors were French, with a total spend of £762 million. But on an individual basis the big spenders are from the Gulf countries of the Middle East. While the average London visitor spent £640, those from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia spent nearly five times that amount.

The ease of a hop across the Channel or a trip through the Tunnel means the French still account for more of London’s short-stayers than anyone else. 1.2 million French people came to the city for ‘le weekend’ and a trip lasting one to three nights.

The longest stayers came from Australia – 1.57 million of them stuck around for at least two weeks following presumably long-haul journeys for most of them. Despite the Australian’s extended time here, they trail other countries closer to home on tourist numbers and expenditure, including Germany, Italy and Spain.

As home to most of the UK’s biggest tourist attractions, it is no surprise that London’s main draw for visitors continues to be as a holiday destination. Half of those who came to the city from abroad did so for leisure. Internationally, London also remains a popular destination to do business, with 20% of those coming here on work commitments.

Irish and Polish family networks around London also seem to have grown in strength in the past year. Not only did their visitor numbers increase by almost one third and one fifth respectively, but as many as 39% of Irish and Polish visitors were in the capital to see family and relatives.

Source data

See also

Good news for tourists and Londoners as city dominates for visitor attractions

Tourists biggest users of Boris Bikes

How London’s choice of nightlife compares to other cities

London ranked as top global city destination

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London has been ranked as the world’s top destination for international visitors with an estimated 18.82 million people expected to stay overnight in the city in 2015. London has topped the rankings carried out by Mastercard as part of its Global Cities Destination Index for 5 of the past 7 years.

The index looks at how 132 of the world’s most important cities are connected by air travel, him many international visitors they receive and the amount those visitors spend. Visitor numbers are based on data from governments and tourist boards and the role of some cities, like London, as a flight hub is factored in.

London remains slightly ahead of Bangkok, with global city rivals Paris and New York also in the top 10.

International visitors

The top feeder city for visitors to London is New York, accounting for nearly 1 million people. Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt and Stockholm, make up the top 5, but London has a very diversified source of visitors with 50% coming from 26 different cities. In comparison, 50% of Bangkok’s visitors come from just 13 cities.

London tops the list for spending by international visitors. Mastercard estimates that this will be a little over $20 billion in 2015, that’s 16% above its nearest rival in the spending league, New York.

And London also heads the index as the world’s leading flight hub. Mastercard looked at connectivity and the frequency of non-stop flights to international destinations scoring London ahead of Paris, Dubai, Frankfurt and Istanbul.

Source data

See also:

London “most influential” global city

London flies flag for West as East leads global growth ranking

Amid Heathrow-Gatwick battle smaller airports fuel passenger growth

 

Good news for tourists and Londoners as city dominates for visitor attractions

British Museum - the Uk and London's top visitor attraction

British Museum – the UK and London’s top visitor attraction

Planning a day out, with or without the kids, means being spoilt for choice in London. According to data from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, London has most of the top sites in the UK.

But expect a crowd when you get there.  20 of the 31 visitor attractions in the UK that have more than 1 million visitors are in London and that includes 9 of the top 10.

The data for 2014 shows that the venerable British Museum is top once again with 6.7 million annual visitors. The top 5 are:

  1. British Museum
  2. National Gallery 
  3. Southbank Centre
  4. Tate Modern
  5. Natural History Museum

The figures show that Tate Modern, the art gallery housed in the old Bankside power station on the Thames, has seen particularly strong growth in visitors year on year since 2013.  High profile exhibitions like the Matisse show helped push up visitor numbers by 18%.

All the top five have free entrance, though there are charges for some special exhibitions. Museum and gallery spaces outscore simple sightseeing.  The highest position for London’s landmark buildings is St Paul’s Cathedral in 12th place, but it has seen a drop in visitors of 17% since 2013.

The highest placed attraction outside London is the Library of Birmingham, opened in 2013, in 10th place.  The Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh is at 14.  Chester Zoo, with a little over 1.4 million visitors is the top animal attraction and outscores London Zoo with 1.3 million.

The only site in the rankings attracting more than a million people that is outside a city is Stonehenge in Wiltshire.   Stonehenge added a new visitor centre at the end of 2013 and 1.3 millon people trooped through last year.

The Associate of Leading Visitor Attractions includes museums, galleries, historic places and gardens but its list does not include theme parks such as Thorpe Park and  Chessington, just outside London.  Thorpe Park has annual numbers of around 2 million.  Chessington has around 1.5 million thrill-seekers. The capital’s top paid for tourist attraction remains the London Eye with 3.75 million visitors.

Source data

 

Tourists biggest users of Boris Bikes

Tourists and casual customers not London commuters are the big users of the city’s cycle hire scheme, the so-called Boris Bikes.

Boris bikes

Data analysis by Urbs reveals that in 2014 more journeys began from the bike docks around Hyde Park, one of London’s busiest tourist and leisure spots, than the combined total of journeys from 4 of the capital’s busiest railway stations – Waterloo, Liverpool Street, Kings Cross and Victoria.

In 2014 (figures Jan to Oct) 8.3 million journeys were taken using the bikes. Of those, 749,000 began at the Hyde Park bike racks – Hyde Park Corner, Albert Gate, Black Lion Gate, and Kensington Gate. That compares to 214,000 journeys that started at Liverpool Street and 213,000 at Waterloo.

The data also indicates that many users are taking the bikes for a leisurely ride rather than using them to get to a specific destination. More than half of the journeys that started in Hyde Park also ended there.

The numbers gathered by TfL show that commuters arriving from out of town into the city’s main rail terminals are the biggest users of the bikes in the morning rush hour between 7-9am. In that period the top 5 hire locations are all at the big stations, including 3 racks at Waterloo. And users are pushing the bikes back into the racks in the City. The top 5 dropping off points in the morning rush hour are all in the financial district. The average journey time in this period is 16 minutes.

Later in the day the average journey time goes up to 24 minutes and the focus of activity moves west. Across the day the top 3 busiest locations are around the entrances to Hyde Park.

27,000 journeys are taken each day, on average. Across the year it varies from a January average of 15,000 to the peak in July with a daily rate of 35,000. As might be expected the numbers go down on rainy days, though it seems the commuters are hardier folk than the visitors. Weather data shows that on January 29th 2014 it poured with rain and bike journeys dropped by 30% from 15,000 daily average to 10,000. It also rained heavily on August 25th, at the peak of the London tourist season when many Londoners are away on holiday. The 30,000 daily average plummeted to just 6,000, a fall of 80 per cent.

The cycle hire scheme was introduced on July 30th 2010. The Mayor, Boris Johnson, said at the time that it would transform travel for Londoners and visitors.  The data suggests that the tourists have got the message, and commuters who travel into the city to work are the other significant group of users. But Londoners living outside zone 1, who are helping to subsidise the scheme through their taxes, don’t appear to see the bikes as part of the home to work solution.

There are currently 11,500 bikes and 748 docking stations. The scheme was extended to the west and south west of the city in 2013. But many of the new locations are among the least used, including Clapham, Shepherd’s Bush, and East Putney. The Clapham Common site takes the low usage award with just 469 hires last year – an average of 1.28 per day.

Cycling has grown remarkably in the city in recent years. In 2014 600,000 journeys were taken each day by bicycle. The 27,000 daily Boris Bike journeys make up a fraction of that. For most Londoners getting on your bike means buying your own rather than tackling the miles across the sprawling city on a chunky 23 Kg machine.

Source data:

Cycle hire numbers 

Cycle journeys in London