Figures released by TfL have shown a 167% rise in new 24-hour Santander Cycles membership registrations in the year to December 2020, representing the largest increase in the scheme’s ten-year history,
Total hire numbers for 2020 were 10,434,167, an increase of around 6,000 hires from 2019, despite an overall reduction in journeys across London during the pandemic. Over the course of last year, the previous maximum daily hire number of 50,000 was surpassed on 14 separate days as record numbers of people tried Santander Cycles for the first time.
The festive period also continued to be very busy for Santander Cycles, with more than 60,000 hires made between the 25th-28th December.
Free cycle hire access codes have also been provided for NHS staff and other key workers, with 217,710 hires so far since it was made available in March 2020. Almost 18,000 people have benefited from the offer to date. The busiest location for NHS code redemption is the docking station on Lambeth Palace Road, Waterloo, near to St Thomas’s Hospital. The offer has been repeatedly extended and is now valid until 21st February.
“The Santander Cycle Hire scheme has gone from strength to strength since it launched and over the past year many more Londoners have realised what a lifeline it is,” said Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner. “Although I’m delighted that many records have been broken, I’m particularly proud that NHS staff and key workers have benefited from almost 220,000 free hires since March, helping support them in carrying out their critical roles.”
Helen Sharp, TfL’s head of cycle hire business development, said: “TfL’s cycle hire scheme has been at the forefront of London’s cycling boom over the last decade, contributing to the largest increase in cycling in London since records began. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated this trend as more people than ever turn to cycling.
“Santander Cycles are the easiest and most affordable way people in London can give cycling a try. We’re pleased to have welcomed a record number of new members in 2020, despite restrictions on travel. This year, we will continue to do all we can to ensure cycling in London is accessible to all.”
This year, TfL will introduce new measures to improve and modernise the Santander Cycles scheme. Planned modernisation will include an update to cycle hire terminals and back office systems. TfL will also continue to introduce new GPS tracking capability across the Santander Cycles fleet to further help ensure bikes are always available to hire.
TfL continues to work closely with London’s boroughs to create space for cycling across the city. This includes building a strategic network for cycling in London, transforming town centres and reducing traffic on residential streets.
TfL, the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the London Borough of Hounslow recently opened two new temporary cycle lanes totalling almost 5.5 kilometres of space as part of the Mayor’s Streetspace programme.