London’s Santander cycle hire scheme celebrates 11th year with record numbers

TfL’s cycle hire scheme marks its eleventh anniversary following an exciting year which has seen a record-breaking number of hires. In March, Santander Cycles reached a major milestone of 100 million hires and since then hires have increased again vin April and June.   

Daily hire figures have been very strong in the past year with 33 out of the 35 busiest days for the scheme being since March 2020. The week commencing Monday 7 June 2021 saw 324,000 hires take place, averaging over 46,000 each day and making it the third busiest week since the scheme began. June 2021 saw 650,000 hires from members, the highest monthly volume ever. 

People have been using Santander Cycles for leisure and exercise rather than commuting over the last year as more people have been working from home. The docking stations around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens have regularly been the busiest stations for hires and TfL and Santander are keen to highlight other great parks for cycling, such as Victoria Park and the Olympic Park where cycle hire is also available, according to TfL.

The extension of Santander’s sponsorship until May 2025 will support TfL as it moves forward with planned investment in cycle hire, ensuring the scheme continues to grow and encourage more Londoners to get cycling. TfL and Santander are committed to expanding the cycle hire scheme to new areas of London and are working closely with Southwark Council to add eight new docking stations across the borough next year.   

TfL and Santander are also working to introduce around 500 electric bikes into the scheme from next summer, helping to break down the barriers that stop some people from cycling, including fitness, age and journey length.   

TfL continues to support NHS staff and key workers by offering free access codes*** and a future discount is being developed as a continued show of appreciation. More than 125,000 free rides have been taken by NHS and key workers since the start of the pandemic. 

Will Norman, London’s Walking & Cycling Commissioner, said: “Happy 11th Birthday Santander Cycles. It is great to see the scheme continuing to go from strength to strength, with record hire levels this year. I’m delighted people are using the bikes to make journeys around their local area that they they previously would have done by car, as well as for exercise and commuting. We know that many people have taken up cycling for the first time or returned to it during the pandemic, and I hope the expansion of the scheme, and the exciting new prize draws, encourage even more people to get involved.”

David Eddington, TfL’s Head of Cycle Hire, said:

‘Over the past eleven years our cycle hire scheme has been at the heart of the cycling revolution in London, helping millions of Londoners commute to work, explore the capital and exercise. The past year has seen record breaking hire numbers, with the scheme reaching 100 million hires in March.   

‘We hope our new app prize draw will encourage even more people to cycle and we’re looking forward to introducing electric bikes and expanding our iconic cycle hire scheme in the coming years.’   

Dan Sherwood, Director of Marketing at Santander UK, said:

‘It’s fantastic to celebrate the eleventh anniversary with some of the busiest days for hires in the scheme’s history in recent months. We hope even more people take the opportunity to choose Santander Cycles as a sustainable way to get around London and enjoy the benefits of cycling this summer.’

Last year, TfL and Santander named bikes in honour of twelve dedicated cycle hire users to mark a successful decade of cycle hire in the capital. Emdad Rahman, from east London had a bike named after him and received free annual membership last July, after he used the cycle hire bikes almost every day since they launched in July 2010. His bike has been hired by more than 780 people between August 2020 and July 2021.   

Emdad Rahman, from east London, said:

‘Santander Cycles have been such amazing support to me. I was already using the bicycles to do home visits and to drop off essentials to people in our neighbourhood. I continue to use the cycles almost every single day and they have been tremendous in helping me reach out with our community in terms of delivering items, reaching litter pick hotspots, transporting refuse bags, carrying out work related home visits.  

‘As Team Captain at #bookbikelondon the cycles have been immense in helping me to deliver books to the vulnerable, needy, the isolated. In addition, I have adapted operations to include delivery of food parcels, milk, essentials, clothes and medicine. The Santander Cycles have assisted the elderly, infirm, those lacking mobility and the homeless. As a result I was chosen to feature in a filming shoot to capture what I do on using the Santander Cycles.  

‘I am really hoping someone will sponsor me to continue using these cycles to assist me with my volunteering. Thank you TfL for such terrific support.’

Santander Cycles can be hired from as little as £2 a day for an unlimited number of 30-minute journeys. The free app is available on the iTunes and Android App Stores, searching for Santander Cycles. Using the app lets customers skip past the terminal and get release codes sent directly to their phone, so they can hire their cycle more quickly and easily.  

A thriving cycle hire scheme is essential to the Mayor’s plans to make walking and cycling easier. TfL continues to work closely with local boroughs to create space for cycling across the city. This includes building a strategic network for cycling in London, transforming town centres and reducing traffic on residential streets. Since May 2020, more than 100km of new or upgraded cycle lanes have been built or are under construction, along with more than 22,500 square metres of extra pavement space reallocated for people walking. The measures mean people are increasingly using bikes to get around their local area and for exercise, with recent TfL data showing cycling has increased by 22 per cent in outer London compared to spring 2019, with a seven per cent rise in inner London. 

This continued investment in walking and cycling is also key to achieving the Mayor’s Vision Zero goal of eradicating all deaths and serious injuries from London’s roads by 2041. TfL’s Safer Junctions programme is part of this work, making life-saving changes at some of the capital’s most dangerous and intimidating junctions. TfL’s world-first Direct Vision Standard, which reduces lethal blind spots on lorries, is also already helping to save lives and prevent life-changing injuries. The scheme requires owners of Heavy Good Vehicles (HGVs) weighing more than 12 tonnes to apply for a free permit that assigns vehicles a star rating based on how much the driver can see directly through their cab windows in order to be able to drive in London. Since its introduction, more than 70,000 HGVs have had safe systems fitted, improving protection for people walking, cycling or riding e-scooters or motorcycles and saving lives

Speed limits have also been reduced to 20mph on a number of TfL roads across the capital and TfL is currently consulting on reducing the speed limit on 13km of roads within Westminster.

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