The Santander-sponsored cycles hire scheme from Transport for London (TFL) allows you to hire a bicycle — popularly known as a “Boris bike” — from fixed docking stations around the city and return it to any dock when you’re done, making payment at an automated kiosk at each station. The free Santander Cycles app makes things easier by booking and paying for the bike from your phone.
The Santander Cycles app shows you where the nearest Boris bike stations are, how many bikes are available to collect and how many spaces to drop off a bike. TFL
The app shows you how many bikes and how many spaces are available at each docking station. It also plots a route between stations. Payment is all handled by the app so there’s no need to mess around with the machine at the docking station. Instead, you register your payment details with the app, and payment is taken automatically based on how long you have it. You need a subscription first: that costs £2 for 24-hour access to the bikes — handy for tourists — or £90 for a year if you’re a heavy user. After that, each ride is free for the first 30 minutes and £2 for each half hour after that.
To book, tap a button in the app. You’re sent a code and you have ten minutes to type that into a docking station and unlock your bike.
The app is available from TFL for Android from Google Play and iOS from the Apple App Store.