Guildford station was the setting today for an innovative experiment in cycle-rail commuting – Britain's (and surely the world's) first self service Brompton bicycle rental scheme, the Brompton Bike Dock.
Fifty folding bikes are for hire at the station through a new membership scheme. Joining the scheme costs £50 for a year and that gets you a smartcard and access to the Bike Dock. To hire a bike from one of the Bike Dock's lockers simply swipe the card on a locker door, take the bike inside, and off you go.
The hire period can be for as short or long as you like, and hire prices go from £4 for a single day hire, to £2 per day for hires of seven days or more, dropping to £1.60 per day if you for hire periods of 23 days and up - which sounds like a bargain when set against the cost of actually buying a Brompton.
South West Trains have been working with Brompton for a few years now, the company pioneered Brompton hire at Waterloo station and already offer Brompton hire bikes to their season ticket holders. The new Brompton Bike Dock carries things a stage further. This latest move is says South West Trains part of the company's strategy to promote cycling "as an eco-friendly last-mile feeder link to and from the station."
Phil Dominey, Stakeholder Manager for South West Trains said: “Brompton bikes have already proved to be a success on our network. This is the first time in the UK that Brompton bikes will be available from a self-service dock and we believe this will make it easier for people to cycle to or from Guildford station. It is another step to encourage more passengers to think of alternatives to the car."
As you'd expect Brompton Bike Dock managing director, Mark Antwiss was equally enthusiastic about the new project:
“In the last 10 years, bike journeys have increased 10 fold (no pun intended we're sure - ed). This is the first Brompton dock in the country and we believe this will make bike journeys even more attractive and set people free by providing a ready to ride high quality Brompton bike to rent.”
The Bike Docks green credentials are boosted still further by being made from 95 per cent recycled materials in the UK and is entirely self-contained and solar powered. You can register to become a member of the Brompton Bike Dock scheme and to buy a smart card at http://pilot.bromptondock.co.uk/pilot.php
Folding bikes, especially Bromptons can be carried without restriction on all South West Train Services, but most be stowed as luggage.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.