Transport for London (TfL) say a technical issue which rendered a number of their Barclays Cycle Hire docking stations unusable yesterday morning has now been rectified and the service has returned to normal.
TfL apologised to people affected by the problem, which saw key-carrying members of the scheme unable to remove bikes from some of the 340 hire locations dotted around London.
"We had a problem for one hour from 8.30am on Monday," a TfL spokesperson told BikeRadar. "Technicians from our service company Serco fixed the issue quickly."
The issue with the bikes – dubbed 'Boris Bikes' by many Londoners due to city mayor Boris Johnson's enthusiastic support for the scheme – compounded the effects of a strike taking place on the city's underground train system over job cuts.
Commuters vented their frustration on Twitter, with scheme member njhamer 'tweeting': "Boris bike #fail at Kings Cross. Nobody's membership key is working." He later added: "Am livid at the failure of the bike hire system today. TFL really can get nothing right. Merciful I haven't paid for annual membership."
Fellow Twitter user notwelshman said: "Barclays Bikes not making any friends by having system problems on tube strike day. You want £45 a year from me? Really? Work, then." He later added: "Barclays Bike just advised me to seek alternative method of transport. There's a TFL strike on. You ARE my alternative method. Idiots."
Another user, LorryDrivinGeek, said: "Couldn't find a single Boris Bike that worked, found a open tube Stn and now slowly getting there. Only 90 mins late and counting so far... Roll on Christmas when I get my own bike and don't have to put up with anymore of this tube strike Boris bike not working s**t."
Subsequent comments on the social networking site and online forums indicated that the issue had been common across London. Members suggested cold weather might be responsible for the fault. Indeed, the problem occurred as temperatures dropped below freezing for one of the first times since the scheme was introduced on 30 July.
TfL said they were awaiting a report from Serco, the contractors responsible for operating the scheme. "Serco are currently investigating [the fault] for us. They haven't yet reported back to us exactly what the issue was," the TfL spokesperson said. "We're working with them to confirm the number of docking stations that were affected by the technical system issue."