York to have bike hire scheme

City could have banks of hire cycles by early 2014

by Sarah Barth   October 13, 2013  

Boats on the River Ouse at York beside Lendal Bridge pic by Steve FE Cameron.JPG

York residents and visitors could have access to cycle hire across the city by early next year.

The City of York council has agreed to fund a pilot for the next two years, which will see 130 bikes available at 38 sites in the city.

They will be centred around facilities including shopping centres, the universities and park and rides.

The council is looking for corporate sponsorship to add to the £200.000 a year it has already pledged - and the outcome of that could affect how much the bikes cost to borrow.

In London, Barclays sponsor the Boris bike scheme, which along with user contributions of £2 a day raises £13 million towards the running costs for the fleet of 8,000 bikes.

York will host a section of Le Grand Depart at next year’s Tour, and the city already boasts 11,000 of its 200,000 residents riding to work as their main form of transport.

Dave Merrett, the cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, told the BBC: "There still remains a gap in cycle provision for those living, visiting and working in York who don't have a bike and require a quick and flexible service to meet a variety of needs."

The 2014 Tour de France will start in Leeds on Sunday July 5 with a stage that pops into the Yorkshire Dales and finishes in Harrogate. The following day riders set off from York and head into the Pennines for the hilliest of the three stages that ends in Sheffield. They then transfer to Cambridge for the start of stage three, which will finish in London on The Mall.

Earlier this year we reported how Nottingham's bike hire scheme could be under threat after it was found that fewer than one bicycle a day has been hired in the six months since the city bike scheme was launched.

The scheme has only been used 126 times since September, but council chiefs have blamed the weather and say they expect usage to pick up as the summer approaches.

And in 2010, Scotland’s first cycle hire scheme, launched in Dumfries in September, saw slow uptake in its first two months of operation, with 47 users making an average of three journeys each. With the scheme costing £155,000 to put in place, it meant that each trip cost more than £1,000.

2 user comments

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Im a huge fan of this sort of scheme, however unless they are set up for the right reason, they will be doomed to fail, more than that, there are several towns and citys setting up similar but different schemes, making it all very confusing.

For the most part, the London system will probably always work great as there is plenty of infrastructure (docks) and it is very cheap thanks to Barclays.

However, consider where I live in Warrington, we have a Brompton Dock scheme at 3 of the train stations, firstly you need to sign up for an annual membership, then pay per day. For the regular user its £45 per year and £2.50 per day for the bike hire. Being that the bikes are only at 3 train stations, the scheme seems to be set up for someone commuting to work via train and then riding to work and storing the bike at work, so for the person doing this 5 days a week, over a year its going to cost over £600... there are pros and cons with this, but thats for another day, essentially my point is that its not cheap in comparison, and not really targeted to the weekend visitor to town.

Liverpool have a similar scheme, but run via a different company, so for the person living in Warrington and working in Liverpool wanting to use the schemes, there is 2 annual subscriptions to pay, and the inability to use the different docks.

In an ideal world, these schemes should be run at a loss as there would be other benefits associated...fitness, pollution, less road damage, ...sponsored by the government and be interchangeable so that I could pick up a hire bike close to my office, park it at the train station, go to London, pick up another, head off to the Rapha Club for a coffee....etcettera

Just my crazy opinion

posted by jason.timothy.jones [290 posts]
14th October 2013 - 9:54

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Locals wouldn't need it but I guess it could work for visitors to York - most cycling in York is commuting into the city and around the fringes, certainly there is a decent amount of cycling infrastructure available, ie dedicated routes.

However the sheer amount of traffic plus narrow roads makes it tough enough for regular residents, let alone for visiting cyclists.

Also, to replicate a system similar to London would require loads of specific docking points ,a massive investment in itself, so perhaps a different system with more versatility is required..

Finally, bicycle theft is really bad in York and police don't seem to be that bothered (at least they weren't the last couple of times I lived there and had bikes stolen), so the planners will need to budget for that!

posted by 700c [556 posts]
14th October 2013 - 12:00

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