Transport for London (TfL) and Santander have announced that e-bikes are now available to hire as part of an expansion of the scheme’s offering to its customers.
The new e-bikes have been distributed across key central London locations and can be docked at any of the scheme’s 800 docking stations. The e-bikes are serviced on street by cargo bikes, ensuring that the scheme is as sustainable as possible. Initially e-bikes will be available to registered users only, for a fare of £3.30 per 30-minute ride or an additional fare of £1 per 60 minutes for monthly and annual members.
The scheme has seen record levels of hires this year, with 9.5 million hires so far. This is 1.2 million higher than the same point last year, with every month from August 2021 to August 2022 recording the highest number of hires for the corresponding month.
The e-bikes have been introduced to support the scheme’s continued success and financial sustainability, as part of a programme of work to modernise the cycle hire scheme, with funding agreed for the programme in 2020. The new e-bikes will enable even more Londoners to enjoy the benefits that cycling can bring, from improved health to cleaner air. The new bikes will also help to break down the barriers that stop some people from cycling, including fitness, age and journey length.
TfL has also made changes to the Santander Cycles fare tariff to support the introduction of e-bikes and to secure continued investment in cycle hire. These changes were introduced on Monday 12 September. Feedback from customers indicated the previous tariff structure, which charged an annual membership fee or a daily access fee of £2, plus additional charges for rides longer than 30 minutes, could be made less complex and more flexible. The changes, which are the first since 2013, include:
- *A flat rate of £1.65 per 30-minute ride, the same as a bus fare. This has replaced the daily access charge, which was £2 for unlimited rides of up to 30 minutes in a 24-hour period, with additional charges for rides over 30 minutes
- *A monthly membership option, costing £20 per month. The membership, which can be cancelled at any time, allows customers unlimited 60-minute rides in the month
- *The annual membership now offers unlimited 60-minute rides, instead of the unlimited 30-minute rides previously offered. The price of an annual membership has increased to £120, reflecting increased running costs and inflation since it was last changed in 2013.
The £1.65 flat rate for customers who are not Santander Cycles members matches the price of a bus fare, meaning that Santander Cycles continues to offer one of the best value ways to get around London.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I am delighted to see our first ever Santander Cycles e-bikes in action on London’s streets today, and to join Londoners riding these e-bikes around our city on their first day. Their launch is another momentous moment for cycling in London after a record-breaking year for TfL’s Santander Cycles which saw over 12.5m hires.
“The new e-bikes have an important role to play in breaking down some of the barriers that prevent Londoners from getting on a bike, whether that be fitness, age or length of journey. I’m determined to make cycling as accessible as possible as we continue building a safer, greener, more prosperous London for everyone.”
Dan Sherwood, Marketing Director, Santander UK said: “With the brilliant addition of e-bikes, Santander Cycles will appeal to a broader range of people, enabling them to take advantage of a sustainable and healthy way to travel around London. The cycle hire scheme is more flexible and accessible than ever before with simplified tariffs and unlimited 60-minute rides now part of annual and monthly memberships, and I’m sure it will continue to attract record numbers of cyclists.”
David Eddington, TfL’s Head of Cycle Hire, said: “Santander Cycles is a vital part of London’s transport system and the scheme has gone from strength to strength, with cycle hire in the capital now more popular than ever. These new e-bikes will help to break down some of the barriers to cycling and make it even easier to travel sustainably. Santander Cycles has played an important role in encouraging more people to cycle and we’ll continue to improve the scheme to ensure a greener and healthier future for everyone in London.”
Isabelle Clement, Director of Wheels for Wellbeing (Brixton-based charity supporting Disabled people to cycle), said: “We are thrilled to see the introduction of e-bikes as part of the Santander Cycles scheme. This is a huge step forward for the scheme as it opens it up to a much wider range of users. For example, many Disabled people, including people with fatigue impairments, ride on two-wheels as they find that cycling is easier than walking but many of them need the e-assist to have the confidence to ride in traffic or to get up hills.”
Last year it was announced that Santander will continue to sponsor London’s flagship cycle hire scheme until May 2025. This will support TfL as it moves forward with planned investment in cycle hire, ensuring the scheme continues to grow and encourages more Londoners to get cycling.