Cycle hire scheme set to cost less than a bus pass

The scheme will launch with an initial 200 cobalt blue bikes in September.
The scheme will launch with an initial 200 cobalt blue bikes in September.
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SIGHTSEEING cyclists will be able to take hourly shuttle rides across the Capital for £3 a day when new street bikes are launched next month.

Edinburgh’s first cycle hire scheme will start with an initial 200 cobalt blue bikes.

Prices were unveiled yesterday as were calls for Evening News readers to help come up with a fitting name for the service.

There will be three ways to hire a bike using a smartphone app – either a single trip costing £1.50 for up to an hour, a day subscription for £3 or annual membership of £90.

Day subscription, which comes in cheaper than a £4 day ticket for Lothian Buses, will allow unlimited hires of up to one hour each in a 24-hour period. Annual members get one-hour hires for 365 days.

For each of the charging options, hirers can boost their lease with extended rentals to enable trips of more than one hour – at a charge of £1 for each extra 30 minutes.

City transport convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “Coupled with the council’s continued investment in improving cycling infrastructure across the city, the new bike hire scheme will help make Edinburgh even more cycle-friendly, boosting health and wellbeing and cutting harmful carbon emissions.”

Bikes can be returned to any cycle hire point at any time, with the closest available stations shown in the app.

The initial three-year concession agreement will deliver a minimum of 500 manual bikes by April 2019.

The cobalt blue Pashley bikes feature Shimano gears and brakes, gel saddle, front and rear LED lights, full-length mudguards and puncture resistant tyres. The scheme will also be using technology that includes the unique hybrid lock provided by Urban Infrastructure Partner (UIP) – the operators of cycle hire schemes in Oslo and Bergen.

Operators Serco signed a concession agreement with Transport for Edinburgh (TfE) to introduce and operate the new cycle hire scheme for 
Edinburgh in May. The fee schedule was announced as Green councillor Gavin Corbett suggested a public vote to help name the bikes.

“The bikes are currently labelled ‘Your Bike Edinburgh’, but experience in other cities is that they quickly acquire their own distinctive name,” Cllr Corbett said. “My invitation to develop something distinctively Edinburgh has been seized on enthusiastically.”

Suggestions have already started flooding in with Barry Bikes a favourite, encompassing Capital dialect.

Other potential names include Beaumont Bikes after ultra-cyclist Mark Beaumont or perhaps Begbie Bikes after one of the city’s favourite literary characters.

“Whatever the name that finally becomes popular, it is more important that people use them and enjoy doing so,” Cllr Corbett added.