Cycle hire scheme signs up 11,048

More than 11,000 people have signed up for membership to the cycle hire scheme that plans to put 6,000 cycles on London's roads.

The Barclays Cycle Hire project, a flagship programme by London Mayor Boris Johnson, will allow people to use bicycles stored at docking points in central London.

The facility will be available only to those who sign up for membership and purchase a £3 key, for the first four weeks since the launch, after which the programme will be open even to casual users.

Membership costs start at £1 for a 24-hour membership, £5 for seven days and £45 for an annual membership. The first 30 minutes of any journey will be free, and the next 30 minutes will cost £1, with rising costs for journeys of more than one hour.

However, the scheme has encountered some teething problems with only around 5,000 of the total 6,000 for-hire cycles available to start with, while around a quarter of the 400 docking stations are not yet in operation.

The programme has also attracted some criticism from the Green Party about the extent of the scheme and the fact that the cycles have no locks.

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