One significant element of being a good local politician is the ability to administer. On reaching office any politician worth their salt – and particularly local politicians – should define 3 or 4 key things they’ll achieve, focus ruthlessly on them and make sure they deliver.
On the London cycle hire scheme, Boris has shown himself to be one of the other significant things local politicians need to be – regularly exposed (so to speak) – but not a good administrator.
The excellent Boris Watch has published a one month on summary of the Mayor’s cycle scheme, and noted it to be the relative shambles it is.
Regular problems include:
- Badly handled online accounts
- Keys and docks that don’t work
- Poor customer service
- The absence of signage linking the cycle scheme to other forms of public transport
There are enough examples of cycle schemes in other cities for Boris to have competently see through the administration of this scheme. Even if there weren’t, any competent administrator could have ensured a scheme like this (a) was launched with all essential infrastructure significantly sorted, and (b) had managed expectations sufficiently in order to easily address those infrastructure issues that will inevitably arise without significantly undermining the scheme.
London elected a show pony for its Mayor. The cycle hire scheme is the highest profile casualty of that election to date.