Leicester City Council has announced specialist e-bike hire provider Ride On as its partner in the city’s forthcoming e-bike share scheme.
The scheme, known as Santander Cycles Leicester, will see 500 electric bikes available to hire from 50 locations across Leicester city centre. This will make Santander Cycles Leicester the ‘largest’ docked e-bike hire scheme in the UK.
Work is getting underway to create the docking stations where the bikes will charge up, ahead of a public launch currently planned for spring next year.
Deputy city mayor for environment and transportation, councillor Adam Clarke, said: “We’re very excited to have appointed Ride On as our operator and to be bringing this scheme to Leicester. The scheme will be low-cost and very easy to use, with people able to pick up and return the e-bikes at the docking stations, where they charge up when not in use.
“The coronavirus pandemic has meant we have had to delay the launch of the scheme, but this gives us the opportunity to test it ahead of a public launch next spring. We also know that the pandemic has led to much more interest in cycling, so we will be able to build on that momentum to launch the scheme.
“Since 2012, we’ve invested more than £70 million in creating cycling-friendly streets, people-friendly public squares, public transport hubs and cycle tracks along main roads. Recently, we led the way nationally by installing nearly 11 miles of new cycling and walking routes in just 10 weeks, to help people get around safely during the coronavirus crisis.
“Santander Cycles Leicester will build on our commitment to cycling, helping people from all of our diverse communities to get on a bike. It’s an exciting scheme and an important part of Leicester’s recovery. I’m very much looking forward to seeing these e-bikes in use around the city.”
The £600,000 project is being funded by a partnership made up of Leicester City Council, following the council’s successful bid to the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities fund, with sponsorship from Santander UK and additional investment from the operator, Ride On, and its delivery partner Enzen Global.
Santander Cycles Leicester will cover the city centre and surrounding neighbourhoods. To ensure good hygiene, Ride On’s maintenance team will be disinfecting all the equipment every day, and users will be advised to use hand sanitiser and/or gloves when riding the bikes.
People will be able to register online or at one of the on-street kiosks, buy a plan based on their needs and then use a smartphone or keycard to unlock a bike and start riding. Day passes and membership fares will be available to help people make the most of their journeys in the city. The scheme is designed to be socially inclusive, with discounts and incentives offered to help make sure Santander Cycles Leicester is an “affordable choice for everyone”.