Transport for London’s cycle hire scheme, Santander Cycles, has recorded the highest ever number of hires in the month of February with 750,000 hires made last month, an average of almost 27,000 per day.
January was also a record month for the scheme, with 748,000 hires, or 24,000 per day. These records follow on from record months in September, October, November and December last year, as well as a record number of hires across the year in 2021.
TfL says encouraging people back to the city and enabling more people to walk, cycle and use public transport is a vital part of London’s green recovery from the pandemic. The scheme offers people without access to their own bikes the opportunity to make the most of the new high-quality cycle routes that have been created in London in recent years, including the more than 100km of routes delivered since the start of the pandemic. The scheme is also popular with commuters arriving at central London stations and has supported the return of people to offices and other workplaces in the area.
TfL and Santander continue to work on upgrades and improvements for the scheme this year. 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. TfL and Santander are also working to introduce around 500 electric bikes into the scheme from this summer, helping to break down the barriers that stop some people from cycling, including fitness, age and journey length.
Will Norman, London’s Walking & Cycling Commissioner, said, “What an incredible, record breaking six months it has been for Santander cycles. I’m delighted that 750,000 rides took place in February, the highest ever number of rides in that month, echoing the wider trend of ever increasing numbers of Londoners choosing to cycle. We know that many people took up cycling for the first time or returned to it during the pandemic, and we are determined to keep Londoners cycling and build on this further. This includes introducing electric Santander Cycles to the network and expanding the scheme to new areas to help ensure a green and sustainable recovery for our city.”
David Eddington, TfL’s Head of Cycle Hire, added, ”Our popular cycle hire scheme has gone from strength to strength and we’re delighted to have recorded six record months for the scheme in a row. The scheme has played a vital role helping millions of Londoners commute to work, explore the capital and exercise, as well as helping thousands of Londoners try out cycling for the first time. We’re looking forward to introducing electric bikes and expanding our iconic cycle hire scheme this year, so even more Londoners and visitors can discover the benefits of cycling in the capital.”
Dan Sherwood, Director of Marketing at Santander UK, commented, “It’s fantastic to be celebrating breaking records again as we continue to support communities to stay connected and mobile in a healthy and sustainable way. We’re delighted to continue our support for key workers with a free code scheme in 2022 and look forward to another great year.”
The scheme reached 10 million hires via the Santander Cycles app in September 2021, with 2.8 million hires in total taking place through the app in 2021, another new record and a 20 per cent increase on 2020. The free app is available on Apple and Android App Stores by 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.
Santander Cycles continue to support NHS staff and key workers by offering free cycle hire access codes, with more than 168,000 free 24-hour access periods given out to NHS and keyworkers since March 2020.
A thriving cycle hire scheme is essential to the Mayor’s plans to make walking and cycling easier, alongside safe cycleways and safer streets for people walking and cycling. 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. This work is reliant on continued funding for infrastructure from the Government.
During the pandemic cycling levels were boosted overall, increasing from 21 per cent of Londoners cycling at least once in 2019/20 to 27 per cent in 2020/21. Participation also widened, particularly among people from minority ethnic communities. TfL research last year found that one in five people who don’t cycle are now actively considering cycling, which could increase the number of people cycling at least once a year to more than 40 per cent of Londoners. Ensuring that people from all backgrounds feel comfortable cycling is vital to ensure an inclusive, healthy, green and sustainable recovery from the pandemic, and the research found that half of Black and Asian non-cyclists (49 per cent and 46 per cent respectively) are open to starting to cycle.
(Picture – Transport for London)