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It's time to give up on CityCycle
That's it. I've had enough. This morning was the final straw. CityCycle and I are breaking up.
For nearly three years Brisbane's bike hire scheme has been my ride into work and my ride back home. I've appreciated the convenience of popping on a bike at a station a short walk down my New Farm street and dropping the bike off out the front of my work place in the CBD. I've also enjoyed the affordability of the scheme, having never had to pay more than a yearly $60 fee to ride the bikes due to the short distance between work and home.
But as of late CityCycle has gotten less and less convenient. I just can't rely on it anymore.
In the past two months I've spent many mornings wandering around the city trying to find a station which isn't full of bikes. One morning I'd walked 25 minutes around the city trying to find an available space, the amusement of workers in the CBD adding to my frustration as they watched me wheel around the big, heavy yellow bikes, increasingly agitated.
Of course there was a station only a block away from my work with many spaces free, but I only found that out the fifth time this had happened to me when I called a CityCycle operator. This time I was late enough for work, having roamed the streets looking for a park, that I could call the CityCycle call centre, which only opens at 8.30am. Not so convenient a time for morning commuters.
I was told that there were spaces for bikes that morning but they filled up quickly because of other users dropping off their bikes. Which is strange since I'm usually the only person I see riding a CityCycle most mornings.
I've endured problems such as this with good grace in the past. I deal with the frustration of most of the bells not working by giving pedestrians a wide a berth as possible and I've dealt with the annoyance of having to unhook and rehook free yellow bike helmets which I never use because I had to buy my own helmet when the program started.
This morning, though, was too much.
I walked down Sydney Street and up Brunswick Street and all five CityCycle stations I went to were not working. I simply couldn't get a bike.
In the past I'd experience a couple of stations being down and managed to find a working station in a short walk. But not this time.
The final indignity was boarding a Brunswick Street bus, with my helmet and gloves still on, and finding out my Go Card had "expired."
Before I could unleash my inner Peter Finch and yell out a "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" the bus driver waved me on sympathetically. Maybe that's the kind of human element the scheme is lacking.
The individual problems with the CityCycle scheme aren't unmanageable. And I realise long distance commuters encounter much more costly problems with our public transport system each week. But each CityCycle failure adds up. It's got to the stage where I head off to work thinking "what is going to be the issue today?"
My loyalty to the program has stretched too thin.
I'm just going to lay down the money for my own bike.
I guess in that sense CityCycle has been a success.