Free Citycard Cycle hire offer proves to be a big success

For the last year thousands of city residents and visitors have enjoyed the offer to ‘hire’ a Citycard Cycle for free.

The free hire scheme was put in place to encourage more people to use a bike for travelling around the city. This proved very popular – so popular in fact that at times there was a shortage of bikes available to hire. In total the fleet of 500 Citycard cycles were hired more than 5,800 times in the last 12 months, with a total of 90,000 hire hours recorded.

The Citycard Cycle scheme was set up with money provided by the Government through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) – more than £15m was won by the City Council to spend on innovative, sustainable transport projects between 2011 and 2015. Citycard Cycles provide a crucial link in the city’s integrated transport service, encouraging people to use bikes more often as their preferred transport choice and giving people who don’t own a bike the chance to get on the saddle and give cycling a go.

There are around 30 cycle hire points in the city and 16 Citycard Cycle hubs offering safe and secure cycle parking. This LSTF funding finished in March 2015 and it is now necessary to reintroduce a small charge for the service to make sure that the bikes continue to be available. From November 9th 2015 it will cost £1 to hire a bike for 24 hours, for bookings made at one of the hire points. It will continue to be free for Kangaroo card holders who book their bike in person at either the Broadmarsh or Victoria bus station travel centres.

Councillor Nick McDonald, Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Jobs, Growth and Transport, said: “The free hire scheme has been a great success and encouraged even reluctant cyclists to have a go. We want to be able to continue to offer the bike service which means returning to making a small charge to hire bikes. A new, simple automated booking process will be introduced which will increase the flexibility of bike use and make more bikes available to those who want to use them.

“As bookings will now be made per person rather than by bike, it will be possible to hire more than one bike in a 24 hour period. Also, as users will be asked to log in where they return their bike to, the stock of bikes can be managed better to meet demand. And if people don’t register where they have returned their bike, a charge will be made to their account. We expect the high levels of use to continue and this will make the service more user-friendly. The £1 charge for 24 hours hire is still a real bargain and will help to make sure that the council can continue to use Citycard Cycles as a way to make cycling a popular transport option in Nottingham.”

To find out more about Citycard Cycles visit www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/citycardcycles

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