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Cycle hire hub plans revealed in Plymouth

Is smaller better?

Plymouth have announced plans to integrate a cycle hire hub into a derelict corner of their old harbourfront naval buildings.

The bike hire point that has been put forward for consideration in Royal William Yard will see two old archways transformed into a storage facility for 30-50 bikes and a rental reception area.

The plans will be part of a project that aims to provide links between cycle hire locations in the Hoe and Barbican areas of the city.

However, schemes with a not-so-different premise have been blighted by poor uptake around the country. Take Scottish town Dumfries’ struggling project for example, or Nottingham’s scheme which saw less than one bike hired per day in its first six months.

Even cycle hire schemes that have been received well have often faced overwhelming maintenance costs; Blackpool’s highly touted Cycling England backed scheme being one of them.

The difference in Plymouth’s plans are scale. The proposed harbourside hub is not as ambitious as the 500-strong Blackpool fleet, nor is its audience as small as the 43,600 residents of Dumfries.

The seaside city is already home to a number of small, bicycle rental companies, the stand out of which is a bus which drops off bikes at any given location within the city.

But, while Plymouth’s approximately 250,000 residents are well catered for when it comes to bicycle rental services, the planned Royal William Yard hub could bring a convenient, small-scale low-risk cycle hire option to a city that clearly has a market for bike rentals.

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