Ken Livingstone has asked London’s transport body TfL to investigate the feasibility of a bicycle hire scheme to promote cycling in the capital.
The proposal follows the Mayor’s visit to Paris for the recent Tour de France where he and TfL Commissioner Peter Hendy saw the Velib hire scheme introduced by the Mayor of Paris. Mr Livingstone described the scheme as “highly popular”.
The Paris scheme offers 10,000 bicycles sited at 750 dedicated hire-points every 300 metres around Paris, with plans for 20,000 bikes at 1,400 hire points by the end of the year. The bikes are available at any time of the day or night and cost just about 70 pence to hire for half an hour.
Risk of theft is minimised by requiring payment by credit or debit card – if a cycle is not returned the hirer is charged around £100.
Transport for London have been asked to look at international best practice in promoting cycling, including hire schemes like that of Paris, with a view to introducing a scheme which meets the specific needs of London. Cycling groups and other stakeholders will be consulted on the options.
The Mayor says he has “asked transport officials in London to study the Parisian and similar schemes in order to draw up proposals for a scheme which would meet the needs of London. I am sure that we can learn from the success of the Parisian and similar schemes to expand access to cycling in London.”