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No plans for cycle hire scheme in Greater Manchester

Councillors on TfGM Committee told that money would be better spent on other cycling initiatives

Councillors in Greater Manchester who questioned why it lacks a cycle hire scheme similar to London’s Boris Bikes have been told that money set aside for cycling could be better spent on other initiatives.

Cities including Liverpool and Nottingham have launched their own cycle hire schemes, but a meeting of the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) Committee was told the body has no plans to roll one out, reports the Manchester Evening News.

Councillor Robin Robin Garrido, who represents Salford, had said: “I’m a bit concerned about the bike hire situation. I would have thought there was enough information around now to adapt schemes like those in London and Paris.

“There should be enough information for us to develop a good viable bike hire scheme for cycling around the city area.”

Bike & Go

Another councillor, Craig White, who represents Stockport, raised the issue of why major train stations within Manchester itself lacked cycle hire facilities such as Bike & Go.

The scheme, operated by Merseyrail, has been rolled out elsewhere on the rail network including to stations at Altrincham and Rochdale within Greater Manchester. Membership is £10 a year and bikes can be hired for up to 72 hours for £3.80 a day.

“We should have this at Piccadilly, Victoria and Oxford Road,” said Councillor White [Piccadilly does have Brompton Dock cycle hire facilities – Ed].

“To me, that’s something we really do need for people coming in from outside – somewhere they can pick a bike up. I feel that would be a real benefit to central Manchester.”

Not a priority

TfGM’s transport strategy director, Dave Newton, said it had studied cycle hire schemes but it was not a priority in the body’s cycling strategy, which last year secured £20 million in Cycle City Ambition funding from the Department for Transport.

He said: “We know that the operational costs of introducing and maintaining this could be very high, and therefore could take funding away from other initiatives that help to develop cycling across a wider area and benefit a larger number of people.

“However, we are very open to working with partner organisations to consider how a more self-financing scheme might work in Greater Manchester,” he added.

Unsuccessful schemes

Where councils have launched schemes, they have not always met with success. In June last year, it emerged that bikes belonging to the CityCard Cycles scheme in Nottingham, launched the previous October, had been used on average less than once a day.

A Nottingham City Council official said at the time that it intended to grow the scheme gradually “over a couple of years,” and the Nottingham Post reported last month that the council has been holding roadshows at park and ride sites to promote it.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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8 comments

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WolfieSmith | 9 years ago
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I wish the cycle hire scheme in Liverpool well but I fear it is great for political promotion but not suitable for the city until it improves the infrastructure. With massive development underway with Peel to expand the port and turn the old docks into a Shanghai skyline we are monitoring all proposals to try to ensure practical cycle routes are actually part of the infrastructure. With Sefton CC rolling out 20mph limits the changes are pretty positive.

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farrell replied to WolfieSmith | 9 years ago
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MercuryOne wrote:

I wish the cycle hire scheme in Liverpool well but I fear it is great for political promotion but not suitable for the city until it improves the infrastructure. With massive development underway with Peel to expand the port and turn the old docks into a Shanghai skyline we are monitoring all proposals to try to ensure practical cycle routes are actually part of the infrastructure. With Sefton CC rolling out 20mph limits the changes are pretty positive.

Given their track record in Manchester with the Trafford Centre etc I think you've got more chance of plaiting piss than getting decent cycling infrastructure out of Peel.

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P3t3 | 9 years ago
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In fairness TfGM have got a point. When bicycle ownership is so high (don't know the actual figure but its well over 60%), a few hire bikes are insignificant in improving cycling's modal share, the London scheme suffers from the same problem.

The problem isn't lack of bikes, its lack of anywhere to ride them subjectively safely. There are thousands of bikes/bike journeys that could be unlocked which would simply render a bike hire scheme insignificant, but only if people feel its worth the risk.

Whether TfGM provides subjectively safe infrastructure is a separate problem.

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farrell | 9 years ago
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We're being sold a pup with the Oxford Road nonsense, an absolute pup.

It's not an improvement for cyclists, just some token, badly planned out shite as per usual.

The only people that will be benefiting from this is the bus companies. Private companies profiting from public money, it's a disgrace.

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GREGJONES | 9 years ago
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I quite agree with dp24 above.

There isn't a cycle lane in Manchester that isn't parked in by cars,vans and lorries. Even the zigzags by crossings are commonly parked on with no enforcement by GMP.

There simply isn't the political will to do anything meaningful, the best example of cycle lanes being misapplied is Oxford road where thousand of students travel every day, it is instead the busiest bus route in Europe and the site of more than it's fair share of fatalities and accidents.

Nothing will change in Manchester for a long time yet, in my eyes because they don't need to, Labour always get in no matter what they do, so why bother doing anything new.

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dp24 | 9 years ago
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'Other cycling initiatives' = a bit of green paint on roads

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farrell replied to dp24 | 9 years ago
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dp24 wrote:

'Other cycling initiatives' = a bit of green paint on roads

Nope, the green paint will be the facilities we are left with when the "other cycling initiatives" turn out to be backhanders and over blown "consultancy fees" paid to a select group of companies that happen to have friends in low places at the council.

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Some Fella | 9 years ago
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Whilst i dont think bike hire schemes are the magic bullet some politicians think they are (no one is going to hire a bike when they fear for their lives on the crap infrastructure) i cant help smelling a bit of politics here.
If the dominant, majority Labour group in manchester had suggested this idea im sure it would be considered the best idea in the world and would be endorsed. However if a politician of any other colour suggests it may be a good idea it is dismissed.
Im not saying Garrido (Tory) or White (LibDem) are correct or even well qualified to comment but they do not have the monopoly on uselessness and crap ideas.

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