Portsmouth City Council accepted a proposal from Solent Transport to introduce a Department for Transport-funded bicycle and e-bike rental scheme this summer. Southampton City Council and Isle of Wight Council will also join the scheme, with Beryl as the approved supplier for the Solent region.
Latest in a series of Solent Future Transport Zone recommendations, the shared bike scheme will be integrated with Solent Transport’s ‘Mobility as a Service’ (MaaS) app, that encourages residents and visitors to combine cycling, walking and public transport as an alternative to car use.
Beryl bikes and e-bikes will be available to rent using a smartphone app. The bikes will be located in designated parking zones across the two cities and on the Isle of Wight, with increasing numbers of bikes and e-bikes available after an initial launch period.
Benefits to residents will include affordable access to a convenient and healthy mode of transport, ideal for local leisure and work journeys. All bikes will be ‘geo-fenced’, with their location tracked and range of use restricted by the operator. When bikes are not in use, they will remain locked in the parking zones.
Shared pedal bikes and e-bikes will be fully insured by Beryl and available for use by people aged 16 or over, who are recommended to wear a safety helmet. Riders will have a payment choice of Pay-As-You-Ride (£1 unlock fee + 5p per minute), Minute Bundles (no unlock fee and bundles starting at 100 minutes for £5) or Day Passes offering 24 hours of unlimited riding.
The Chair of Solent Transport’s Joint Committee, Councillor Lynne Stagg said: ‘It is important we do all we can to address air pollution, traffic congestion and decarbonising our transport system in the right way. I look forward to the bike share trial starting later this summer across the Solent region.’ (note: this quote is subject to approval).
Beryl CEO and co-founder Phil Ellis said: “We are delighted to have been selected to deliver Solent Transport’s new bike and e-bike hire scheme and look forward to bringing our experience and innovation to this exciting project. Our schemes are designed to provide the best possible service for users by being delivered both in partnership with cities and in consultation with communities and key stakeholders. Our services provide a fun, sustainable and cost-effective alternative to the car that help to improve public health and reduce harmful carbon emissions.”