Transport for London confirms Serco as operator for London Cycle Hire scheme

Bixi to supply 6000 bikes similar to those used in Montreal's hire fleet

by Kevin Emery   August 12, 2009  

Bixi Montreal.jpg

Transport for London (TfL) announced today that international service company Serco will set up and operate the London Cycle Hire Scheme which will launch in summer 2010. The announcement comes after TfL confirmed that more than a quarter of the 400 cycle docking station sites have received planning permission. London's scheme will be based on the Bixi scheme in Montreal (see video below) and Bixi will be supplying the bikes.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “The choice of operator will be key to the success of our scheme and I am thrilled Serco have decided to saddle up for London. They can’t wait to get cracking on helping us get thousands more Londoners on two wheels and I’m sure that the cycling revolution taking place in the Capital will rapidly become the envy of the world.”

The scheme, which will be ready next summer and not May as first thought, will launch with 6,000 hire bicycles based in the nine London boroughs and several Royal Parks that make up London’s zone one travel area, and are expected to generate around 40,000 extra cycle trips a day in central London as well as help congestion on the tube and buses.

David Brown, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “The London Cycle Hire scheme will be the most sustainable, environmentally friendly form of public transport ever seen in the Capital. Cycling is a quick, convenient and healthy way of making short journeys in London, and we’re confident that, from next summer, our exciting new cycle hire scheme will become an essential part of the transport network in central London.”

Serco, which already operates the Docklan’s Light Railway, was selected following a nine month competitive tendering procurement process and the contract is £140m over six years.

Nick Brown, Chief Executive Serco Integrated Transport & Middle East, said: “Serco is very pleased to have been chosen to operate the London Cycle Hire scheme. With the considerable experience we already have helping deliver transport solutions for London we look forward to working with TfL on this world class cycle scheme for Londoners.”

The scheme will be based on the award-winning Canadian cycle hire scheme, Bixi, which launched in Montreal earlier this year and provides 5,000 bicycles and 400 pay stations. A complete Bixi station is made up of a pay station, bikes, and bike docks, and the bikes have a one-piece aluminum frame and handlebars to protect them from vandalism.

Senior Campaigns Officer for TfL Silka Kennedy-Todd said: “Serco will be working with Bixi, who will be supplying the bikes. But there will be differences for London, such as the design and colour scheme of the bikes.” A simple to use payment system will support the London Cycle Hire scheme and further information on that, and on the design of the bicycles, docking stations and terminals, will be released later this year.

The London Cycle Hire scheme will build on the 107 per cent growth in cycle journeys that London has seen since TfL was created in 2000.