TfL planning to add e-bikes to hire scheme

Transport for London has announced it’s planning to add electric bikes e-bikes to its cycle hire fleet for the first time.

It’s agreed an extension to Santander’s sponsorship of the bike hire network and says it is working on plans to introduce around 500 electric bikes into the scheme from next summer.

It says that is aimed at helping to break down the barriers that stop some people from cycling, including fitness, age and journey length.

Planned modernisation will also include major updates to the Santander Cycles app, cycle hire terminals and back office systems that TfL says will enable it to deliver even greater flexibility for customers.

TfL says Santander’s sponsorship renewal comes as the cycle hire scheme has enjoyed one of its “most successful years” which it explains has been generated by efficiencies including the introduction of Beryl GPS technology to help locate missing cycles and a significant increase in people hiring for longer during the coronavirus pandemic, as more people turned to cycling for their exercise. In March, the scheme passed 100 million hires, “marking a significant milestone” in its ten-year history.

More than 100,000 hires over the past year have been made by NHS staff and key workers. A permanent NHS discount for annual memberships is now being developed as a “continued show of appreciation”.

Daily hire figures have been particularly strong in the past year with 18 of the 20 busiest days for the scheme being between March 2020 and March 2021 and record monthly hires in April 2021. Saturday 30 May 2020 saw the scheme’s second busiest day in its ten-year history, with 70,170 hires being made, which is only surpassed by 73,094 hires on the 9 July 2015, which coincided with a Tube strike.

(Picture – Yay Images)

Santander Cycles has also seen a huge growth in new customers over the last year with recent TfL figures showing that 24-hour Santander Cycles membership registrations rose by 193 per cent from March 2020 to March 2021, representing the largest increase in the scheme’s history. Meanwhile, registrations for new annual memberships increased by 22 per cent. To help meet this demand, TfL re-opened the Waterloo Hub on 26 April, which has provided 150 additional cycles to hire. 

In May 2015, Santander and TfL announced a seven-year partnership. As the success of the cycle hire scheme continues to grow, both parties have now agreed to extend the contract until May 2025.

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