London's long awaited cycle hire scheme has been given a launch date of 30 July, 2010, according to Transport for London (TfL) and Mayor Boris Johnson.
The scheme hopes to boost cycling in London by up to 40,000 extra journeys per day, thanks to 6,000 hire bikes and 400 parking stations around London's zone one travel area. It's being implemented by government service provider Serco, who are modelling it on the Bixi scheme used in Montreal.
David Brown, Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: "When the London Cycle Hire scheme launches on 30 July it will be the most sustainable, environmentally friendly and healthy form of public transport ever seen in the Capital."
The Mayor, in true Boris Johnson style, said: "In just four months London will glitter with the twinkling dynamo lights of thousands of shiny cycle hire bikes, allowing Londoners and visitors to zip around the streets unfettered from timetables, queues and crowds.
"What we are creating is not just a cycle hire scheme, but a new form of public transport of the greenest and healthiest of kinds. It will become the cornerstone of the cycling revolution in the Capital and will, I'm sure, convert legions of people to the pleasures of pedal power."
To access the scheme will cost £1 for 24 hours, £5 for 7 days or £45 for a whole year. There will be further fees to actually ride the bikes: the first 30 minutes are free, between 30min-1hr will cost £1, 90 minutes will cost £4 and journeys of two hours will cost £6, with prices increasing incrementally up to the maximum hire period of 24 hours.
Alongside the scheme, TfL says "around £1.5million will be spent on safety measures ... including installing advanced stop lines at junctions, improving lighting and CCTV and providing cycle training."
Those wanting to find out more can attend one of 45 cycle hire roadshows in London from the end of May onwards. The dates and locations of these will be published at www.tfl.gov.uk/cyclehire nearer the time.