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.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.