Train commuters at 50 railway stations across the UK will be able to complete the last leg of their journey to work on two wheels, thanks to Euro-style bicycle hire scheme Bike & Go.
The programme, launched at Liverpool Central Station this morning, will mean rail commuters can dodge crowded buses or a long walk after their train journey if they can get their hands on one of the 10 bikes to be located at each of 50 stations around the UK.
The Bike & Go scheme will be restricted to stations within Merseyside, Anglia, and the north- and south-east of England for now, but could expand into other regions if it proves successful.
To access the programme, users will pay a £10 annual subscription, plus £3.80 for 24 hours’ use. The bikes are fitted with standard locks, so you can keep them secure close to your place of work or when you nip out for meetings or a lunch break. As part of the subscription you get a card making bikes at any station accessible.
Andrew Bristow, Bike & Go business manager, told BikeRadar that the programme – funded by a £1.65m grant from the Department for Transport and match funded by Mersey Rail, Northern Rail and Greater Anglia – is based on the OV-Fiets scheme in Holland and Blue-Bike in Belgium.
“We’ve tried to use their templates and use their best practices, and try and incorporate the knowledge and expertise they’ve used and try to bring it to the English and British market,” he said.
Despite relatively small numbers of bikes being available, Bristow said there is a backup supply of the sturdy-looking red Bike & Go models for particularly popular stations. “It’s only going to grow, it’s just we haven’t measured what the success of it will be yet, but that’s something we’re looking forward to these next few years,” he concluded.
The hire scheme launch comes in the same week that David Cameron pledges a £148m investment for UK cycling.