It’s third time unlucky as another government tech blunder prevented bicycle repair vouchers being given out after Boris Johnson’s big push to tackle obesity and get the nation fitter. The website crashed yesterday when the offer of £50 vouchers to repair bicycles failed to cope with demand. This follows two other recent technological blunders for an NHS contact-tracing phone app in June and a website offering key workers to book coronavirus tests had to be temporarily closed down in April.
The bicycle scheme which supposed to form part of a £2 billion government investment in cycling to include making electric bicycles more accessible and thousands of miles of new protected cycle lanes supported by cycle training, became a shambles when the site hosted by the Energy Saving Trust was taken off line less than two hours of problems with an ‘Error 404’ message. The website has been suspended indefinitely and the Department for Transport has refused to say when and how the vouchers might be released again.
So much for the government slogan “Fix Your Bike” …more like “Fix Your Website!”
The shadow cycling minister, Kerry McCarthy declared disappointment as people had already had to wait for some months since the cycle repair scheme had been announced and added: “…given the government’s track record on these things, not surprising – that the website has crashed at its launch.”
The volume of complaints on social media site was naturally high given that cyclists have been waiting for the expected promise of half a million vouchers to be allotted. The hashtag #FixYourBikeVoucherScheme became the number one tweet on UK Twitter conveying frustrations that the vouchers had disappeared, perhaps forever.
Perhaps Boris needs to get back on his bike again to sort this out because the Department of Transport said after the scheme was branded a shambles that the vouchers would be offered again “soon” but refused to say when.
Though it will be difficult to convince the multitude of disappointed cyclist that it’s a case of better late than never!