The Mayor of London has pledged to halve traffic created by "peak time-of-life extra-marital nooky" , following a successful pilot of his "Wife Hire" scheme in Westminster.
'The average London man covers two thousand miles a year motoring to "important meetings", "visiting Mama after her operation", and "working late at the office"' said the Mayor. 'The emissions produced are terrible. If a chap needs a bit on the side he should be able to stroll to the nearest pick-up point, swipe a card in a slot, jump on and ride away. Not forgetting his helmet, of course. '
Under the scheme, wives could be borrowed for a maximum of 24 hours, and returned to any pick-up point - provided they were securely docked. Despite concerns about theft, only two wives were reported stolen, and they were later found "abandoned" in Primark on Oxford Street. 'Our crime prevention strategy was to procure wives that were chunky, distinctive and hard to manoeuvre'' said a spokesman. 'Ideally they'd have an oddly-shaped rack up front as well. '
The wives taking part appeared broadly satisfied, although many had reservations about the design of the pick-up points, and the choice of corporate sponsor. 'Don't get me wrong, I quite enjoyed myself' said an anonymous wife. 'But why did they have to secure us to railings with a D lock, and whose idea was it to make us wear T shirts with "Virgin" slapped across the back?'
But not everyone supported the idea. 'This is his worst idea since the pogo sticks' said Labour mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone. 'For a start, they imported most of the wives from France. With unemployment running so high, we should be looking to offer under-worked British wives the chance of a bit of satisfaction on the job. And what about equality? Civil partners want to cheat as well, you know.'
The Wife Hire pilot ran at near-full capacity, and will be rolled out across the capital if more men sign up. 'We had quite a few using the pay-as-you-go option, 'said the spokesman, 'but our sole monthly subscriber was responsible for 89% of repeat bookings. If Mr A B d-P Johnson of Henley-upon-Thames falls under a bus, our business plan is screwed - and London's women won't be. '