“Boris Bikes” scheme to be extended to West Lothian

ScotRail's cycle hire team leader Sam Hayden at Haymarket. Picture: Ian Georgeson
ScotRail's cycle hire team leader Sam Hayden at Haymarket. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A PIONEERING “Boris Bikes” scheme introduced at a Capital station last month is set to be rolled out across West Lothian.

Train chiefs said “Bike & Go” facilities will be put in place at ten stations by the end of March next year – with half of them in the Lothians.

Over the next few years in Scotland we are going to see quite a massive growth in bike hire

Ian Maxwell

Livingston North, Bathgate, Linlithgow and Livingston South will all join Haymarket in installing the bicycle hire scheme, allowing busy commuters to take advantage of top-of-the-range bikes for £3.80 a day.

The new facilities are part of wider plans by ScotRail operators Abellio to roll out bike-friendly innovations in Scotland’s busiest stations, with three “fully-staffed and serviced” cyclepoints – offering a full range of services including sales, maintenance and hire – set to be constructed at key hubs in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling.

The Dutch-style resource allows busy commuters to hire out bikes after they have paid a £10 subscription rate. Similar services are often dubbed Boris Bikes after the system set up by London mayor Boris Johnson.

And to help encourage commuters to try out the scheme, a half-price subscription of £5 – with the first rental coming free – is being offered to new customers at Haymarket until next Sunday.

But cycling campaigners have called on ScotRail chiefs to improve the service by allowing travellers to pick up a bike at one station and drop it off at another – something customers are currently unable to do.

A ScotRail spokesman said this style of A-to-B journey is something it will consider in future once more stations have the facilities installed.

Ian Maxwell of Spokes, the Lothian cycle campaign, said: “The way they have designed it at the moment, it’s going to be useful for certain types of trip but not for others. The day rate is quite attractive, but for somebody who just wants a short trip to go from A to B it really won’t work quite so well.

“But I think it’s certainly encouraging that they are spreading it because that will make it more widely available and more attractive.

“We certainly welcome more bikes being made available but we think it’s important that services are easy to use and meet people’s needs rather than just being provided in case somebody wants to use them.

“That’s where the flexibility with where you can return it comes in.

“The fact that they are expanding it hopefully means it’s already being used.

“Over the next few years in Scotland we are going to see quite a massive growth in bike hire from various directions.”

A ScotRail spokesman said: “We’re really excited about Bike & Go, which will significantly boost integrated journey options in Edinburgh and the Lothians over the next 12 months.”

Other stations set to benefit from Bike & Go facilities include Balloch, Dunblane, Dundee and Tweedbank.