Bike hire scheme could come with bus shelter deal

One of the bus shelters that was removed during the dispute. Picture: Ian Georgeson

One of the bus shelters that was removed during the dispute. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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A BIKE hire scheme could soon arrive on the streets of the Capital as part of a new deal for the running of the city’s bus shelters.

Leading advertising firm JCDecaux has signed a ten-year contract with the city to cover the design, installation and maintenance of the street furniture following a bitter wrangle which led to bus stops disappearing in the dead of night.

A dispute between the city and former operator Clear Channel has now been resolved, after the Evening News reported last month that the company had ripped out shelters overnight on Princes Street and outside the Western General Hospital.

And as part of the new deal, JCDecaux has pledged to consult with the city on a bike hire scheme which it has successfully run in cities such as Paris, Brisbane and Dublin.

The self-hire bikes would be available from stands across the city and returned to any other docking station. From next year bus shelters on Princes Street will have interactive screens providing tourist guidance and council information.

There will also be 60 large-format billboards installed in the city which will broadcast 24 hours a day.

Finance leader Councillor Alasdair Rankin said: “We’re very pleased to be working in partnership with JCDecaux to revitalise public advertising and street furniture across the city.

“Through this joint venture, we will truly be putting Edinburgh on the map as a forward-thinking, creative capital city.”

The new contract – worth around £5 million per year – removes fears that passengers will be left without bus shelters over the winter. Jean-François Decaux, joint chief executive of JCDecaux said: “JCDecaux is delighted to have been awarded this exclusive contract to be the media partner for the city of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city and a major financial, cultural and tourist hub.

“We look forward to working in partnership with 
Edinburgh to install well-designed and maintained street furniture and billboards, including the first digital screens in the city ­centre, benefiting residents, visitors and local businesses.

“JCDecaux works with cities across the world to create advertising-funded services that answer civic needs and enable brands to meet their communication goals.”

Clear Channel owned and maintained a third of the city’s bus shelters until losing out on the contract in August.