Leicester’s electric bike share scheme has now opened up to all city residents.
A discounted trial offer will be available for a limited period and includes a reduction in the cost of scheme membership, as well as discounted usage rates for each journey taken.
The scheme, known as Santander Cycles Leicester, will eventually see 500 electric bikes available to hire from 50 locations across Leicester city centre.
Bikes have already appeared at on-street docking stations across the city as the scheme has been running in a pilot phase since January. Volunteers, made up of key workers who had to be out and about for essential journeys, have been helping to test the system. Now, to coincide with the reopening of non-essential retail, Santander Cycles Leicester will be open to anyone who wants to use it.
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 operator Ride On and delivery partner Enzen Global.
To access the scheme, people will be able to register online, buy a plan based on their needs and then use a smartphone 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. To join the trial scheme will cost £1.20 for a 30-day plan, with hire rates starting at 60p for the first 30 minutes.
Deputy city mayor councillor Adam Clarke, who leads on environment and transportation, said: “You may already have seen key workers riding about on our new electric hire bikes, and now the relaxing of coronavirus restrictions means we can open up this scheme to everyone. Santander Cycles Leicester is an ambitious new venture that demonstrates how determined we are to keep Leicester on track as a cycling city in the wake of coronavirus. Whether you have tried cycling for the first time during lockdown, or you’re already a regular cyclist, these bikes are for you.
“Santander Cycles Leicester allows users to make quick, easy trips across the city – perfect for exploring the city centre as the shops start to reopen. Opening up this scheme to all will help to support our local city centre economy, as well as our efforts to improve air quality, health and wellbeing.”
Santander Cycles Leicester will cover the city centre and surrounding neighbourhoods. Journeys have to begin and end at a docking station, but there are already 15 of these on streets and operational, with a further 35 coming soon. Docking stations are available now at sites including Gallowtree Gate, De Montfort University, Dock and Leicester Railway Station.
An official launch event for Santander Cycles Leicester is being planned for June. Visit www.rideonleicester.com for more information on the scheme.