Bike hire offer to encourage long-term take-up

Saturday July 11th 2020


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Users of Edinburgh’s bike hire scheme can benefit from a four-month pass for the price of less than one, as part of an offer launching on Monday 13th July.

People have been able to try out the bikes for free since 29 June under an initiative giving riders their first 30 minutes of use at no cost, encouraging the public to give cycling a go. Since then more than 2000 free passes have been redeemed.

The second phase of the deal aims to promote long-term use of the bikes by providing a limited number of four-month passes for just £10. The ‘Back to Work pass’ replaces the existing 30 minutes free offer to support people to consider alternatives to private car use while managing demand for public transport as they return to work. This has been made possible by funding from Transport Scotland through the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme.

Since the beginning of lockdown there has been a significant increase in cycling, with numbers up by 16% across the city’s bike counters, while the bike hire scheme experienced its most successful day yet. To help people cycle and walk safely while observing physical distancing as lockdown restrictions are eased, the council is in the process of introducing temporary changes across the city, from road closures to temporary cycle lanes.

Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said:

“We’re delighted to be able extend our offer to help more people benefit from our hire bikes for longer. As we begin to return to some sense of normality, and as residents go back to work, more people will need to travel, and this will provide an affordable alternative to private cars while reducing pressure on public transport.

“There’s been a real surge in cycling over recent months, and we want to see this continue, benefiting the environment and the public’s health. That’s why we’re delivering improvements across the city that will make cycling and walking even easier and safer as lockdown is lifted.”

George Lowder, Transport for Edinburgh Chief Executive said:

“Transport for Edinburgh are delighted that Transport Scotland have provided funding, to allow access to the Edinburgh Cycle Scheme, to provide experience of a car free alternative commute, as we begin to return to work.”

Alex Macdonald, General Manager of Edinburgh Cycle Hire, said:

“It’s fantastic to see so many people trying the scheme for the first time thanks to the promotion. Cycle hire schemes offer users the chance to try cycling without investing in a bike or e-bike of their own, and are therefore a crucial gateway to convert people into regular cyclists. It is my hope that our new users continue to discover the benefits of city cycling and incorporate the scheme into their daily routines. Our recent usage figures show that more people have taken to cycling during the pandemic and to meet this demand we have invested operationally across the scheme to the benefit of new and existing users.”

In June, both Edinburgh and Glasgow launched free cycle share initiatives, made possible with funding from Transport Scotland through the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme, managed by charity Paths for All. Similarly to an annual pass, the £10 ‘Back to Work pass’ lets users hire a pedal bike for up to an hour at time, with per-minute charges after an hour, and removes the unlock fee on e-bikes. This will be available as the ‘Back to Work Pass’ option on the Just Eat Cycle app from 7am on Monday, 13 June

During May, 100 free passes were also given to NHS workers as part of a project between the cycle hire scheme and Sustrans Scotland using funding from Transport Scotland through Sustrans’ Partnership programme.

Edinburgh’s cycle hire scheme, sponsored by Just Eat and managed by Serco, has over 500 bikes, including 160 e-bikes, available for hire, with 107 stations across the Capital.

Anyone making use of the latest bike hire offer will benefit from an increasing number of improvements to streets across the city to make it easier and safer to walk, cycle and wheel as lockdown is lifted. The ‘Spaces for People’ measures include temporary segregated cycle lanes on George IV Bridge, Old Dalkeith Road and in local shopping streets around Edinburgh.

Find out more about the Edinburgh cycle hire scheme online.

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