London’s cycle hire scheme is to get a fleet of more modern, more manoeuvrable and lighter bikes as part of a contract extension with scheme operator Serco.
While the hire scheme generally scores well in Transport for London’s user surveys, the weight and appearance of the current generation bikes are regularly criticised.
City Hall says the replacements, which will be made by Pashley Cycles at its Stratford-upon-Avon factory, will be 2kg lighter and feature a more comfortable gel saddle, smaller wheels, a lower frame and a new gear hub for smoother shifting.
Roll-out of the new bikes is expected to commence in 2018, with around 500 supplied each year. The scheme currently has 11,500 bikes in service.
Serco’s £80m, 5-year contract excludes responsibility for payments, billing and customer service which are all being moved in-house to TfL. The splitting of responsibilities will allow TfL to integrate the hire scheme into the existing contactless and Oyster fares and billing systems.
In keeping with the agency’s transparency pledges, the full contract will be published online for public inspection and scrutiny.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I’m delighted to be able to announce the next generation of bikes for our popular cycle hire scheme.
“It’s already known across the world as a convenient way to get around our city, so it’s great news that these lighter British-made bikes will make it even easier for everyone.
“Cycling is good for our health, air quality and congestion, and that’s exactly why I’m working so hard to make it safer and easier for all Londoners.”
Keith Moor, Chief Marketing Officer at scheme sponsors Santander, added: “Since we took over the sponsorship of the iconic Santander Cycles 18 months ago, we have helped make it easier and more rewarding to cycle in London.
“We’re always looking at ways to improve the scheme and encourage more people to give it a try. These new cycles will make it even easier and more accessible for people looking to enjoy London from a new perspective.”