A £150,000 project will see Edinburgh pilot a cycle hire scheme later this year. It is hoped that ultimately a firm will cover the £4 million cost as sponsors in the same way that Santander does in London.
The Scotsman reports that Edinburgh City Council first considered a bike hire scheme in 2007 but abandoned it due to the cost.
However, earlier this week, Transport for Edinburgh chief executive George Lowder told the Policy Priorities for Transport conference that he was confident that there would be a trial by the end of the year.
He added that Edinburgh could end up with five or six hire schemes rather than a single operation. The new scheme would supplement ScotRail’s Bike & Go at stations; an electric bike hire scheme for Edinburgh University staff; and a Nextbike trial for Royal Bank of Scotland staff.
Lesley Hinds, City of Edinburgh Council's transport convener, said:
"I'm absolutely delighted that we're going to have a pilot public cycle hire scheme in Edinburgh. Many cities now have successful bike hire schemes, which help encourage residents and visitors keep active while exploring their surroundings on two wheels.
"Thanks to the funding available as part of the local government finance settlement, we'll have more resources to devote to cycling projects (supplementing the 10% of the overall transport budget investment already allocated to cycling for 2017/18) and we plan to use some of this extra money for a pilot cycle hire scheme."
Ian Maxwell, from cycle campaign group Spokes,said that the bikes should be widely available and linked to public transport, and added: “Electric bikes should be included because of Edinburgh’s hilly nature.”
He also made it clear that the money should not be taken away from cycle lane improvements.