LONDON’S bike hire scheme is to be extended to the East End next month, London Mayor Boris Johnson has confirmed.

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By the 8 March, areas like Bethnal Green and Bow, Mile End and Poplar and in and around Canary Wharf, will be home to over 2,000 of the now famous blue bikes, as well as nearly 5,000 docking stations.

There are also plans to expand the scheme westwards, though hiring blue bikes beyond Kennington south of the river might be some while away yet.

Johnson pointedly didn’t mention south London in his announcement today, despite earlier suggestions Stockwell and Clapham were soon to be included.

“The expansions east and west will extend the benefits across our city,” he said.

“I’m confident that our investment in this wonderful piece of transport infrastructure will be a huge success.”

As well as complaints from south Londoners, Johnson’s hire bike project has also faced criticism due to the associated crime and because of the scheme’s multi-million pound cost at a time when bus and Tube fares have shot up.