London cycle hire scheme opens to tenders

Transport for London is inviting bids to run a new bike hire scheme after a study released today showed the scheme is viable and could create more than 40,000 extra daily cycle trips in central London.

Introduction of a cycle hire scheme was first sugested by former Mayor Ken Livingstone after he witnessed the success of Paris’s Velib scheme and was a key manifesto commitment of most candidates in May’s elections.

London’s scheme is expected to offer and 6,000 hire bikes from launch to be available from hire points located in London’s Royal Parks and the TfL zone one areas of Camden, Hackney, Lambeth, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Westminster and the City of London.

Speaking this morning Mayor Johnson said he hoped to “inspire Londoners as a whole, and not just the adventurous few, to get on their bikes and give cycling a go” and wanted to create a city “where to use two wheels is common not curious.”

TfL have set a ‘go live’ date of May 2010, Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor’s Director of Transport Policy, said the administration was working “to hit the target of a 400 per cent increase in cycle journeys in London by 2025.”

Companies wishing to tender can find more details at


  1. says

    Paris’s Velib scheme has lost over 3000 cycles that have been stolen.
    This scheme looks like another burdened on the already over taxed Council tax payer.
    Before we start encouraging more people to cycle in London, they have to make it a safer place.
    There are too many empty busses, too many lorry’s and the cycle only boxes at the front of traffic lights are cause too many accidents. We have to stop letting people with little or no common sense, coming up with harebrain schemes that put peoples lives at risk just to promoter a life style of their choice.

  2. Jim bob says

    Hi Jason
    I am with you on most of what you said, although I think you may need to check the figures in Paris, but you are right, about a third of the bikes have disappeared.
    Personally, I think this is the Assembly’s way of reducing the Passengers on surface transport, which is badly overcrowded.
    It might be fine for a few students and fit young people but the majority of working people in London are middle aged and not very fit. To put these people on cycles is highly dangerous. this system works well in cities like Oxford where traffic is banned, but London is not suitable.
    If it is the mayors target to increase cycle users by 400% you have to be ready to accept injuries and fatalities to increase by the same amount if not more. Most of the cyclist who ride around London are experienced riders. New riders will be very unsafe for everyone including the poor motorists who will be knocking these people over and possibly killing them. Something they then have to live with for the rest of their lives.
    If the pro cyclist lobby want to put themselves in danger, they know the risks, but don’t ask other unsuspecting members of the public to join their suicidal activities.

  3. says

    @ Jim bob – this would have nothing to do with the Assembly and according to reports the Paris scheme requires a €150 deposit so any non-returned bikes are paid for by the hirer.

  4. Jim Bob says

    So a large deposit.
    But I wasn’t referring to the hirer stealing the bike. In Paris, organised gangs have been following the unsuspecting hirer.

    All this aside, If the Mayor wants to create a cycle city. He has to make it safer for cyclist.This is not Oxford or Amsterdam.
    It seems TFL have a completely opposite agenda, They are intent on making the roads in central London a nightmare.

  5. says

    Cycling’s increased about 90% over the last few years, without a 90% rise in casualties. The worst you can say is that it hasn’t reduced, in the same way other road casualties have reduced, but that’s not awfully surprising.

    Personally I think it’s a way of reducing the number of buses (notably it’s targetted to inner London areas where a lot of people use buses), but it’s not going to work unless the roads are made safe enough to attract non-cyclists and the hire deposit is actually affordable. There are, of course, huge numbers of Londoners for whom this won’t work – the poor, the elderly, people travelling with children and those of us who live outside the inner city areas it’s being targetted at.

  6. says

    Some very valid points. The reason I am commenting is because I am planning on putting a tender proposal forward and am interested in the views on the subject.

    As a cyclist myself I vouch for the necessity of cycle only boxes at junctions, but yes there are some bizarre ideas that mps come up with regarding cycling, particularly when it comes to cycle lanes. The ONLY way for a cyclist to ride around London is as much in everyone’s way as possible so that no driver tries anything stupid. I personally would love to see this sort of scheme set up, but unfortunately for our beloved Mayor there would have to be a radical rethink on the entire driving culture, testing methods, foreign visitors driving allowances, as you are all right – London’s roads are absolutely no place for the inexperienced cyclist. They WILL get hurt. And this is as much down to the fact that very few people in this country can drive safely, or ride safely – a dangerous combination. Knowing how drivers act and knowing how to ride, I feel safer riding through London than in any non built up area simply because drivers speeds are so much slower.

    So, would the scheme work? Maybe, but not unless the government look at the bigger picture and stop going for ill-thought out quick fixes to our problems.

  7. says

    Surely it would be safer to have cyclists at the back of the line of traffic not at the front where they can be mown down.
    They pay not one penny piece to the up keep of the roads, perhaps they should, say £400 a year, the same as in pay in my car.
    I’m not aloud to break the law by jumping signals and I have to have sufficient lighting at night, something else that should be policed more effectively.