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14/03/2011 // INFO Leave a comment

Reading Council gives go-ahead to cycle hire scheme

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The popularity and success of London’s Barclays Cycle Hire scheme has not gone unnoticed by other towns and cities in the England. A couple of weeks ago, Brighton & Hove Council said it was looking into the feasibility of offering a scheme and now comes news that Reading plans to introduce the biggest UK bicycle hire scheme outside of London.

Reading Borough Council, which is a Conservative-led administration, is looking into the possibility of implementing a scheme which could see around 1,000 bicycles available for hire at 100 – 150 docking locations across the town.  Locations being considered include railway stations in Reading, the University, local shopping centres, business parks, and park and ride sites.

Scheme would increase cycling numbers

The Council estimates that with a hire scheme there would be the potential to increase cycling across the town by 40% – or around 10,000 additional trips per day. In 2010, 3.2% of trips recorded by the annual survey of trips into central Reading were by bicycle (6,400 cycle trips in a 12-hour period).

The Council’s initial thinking would be to offer the first half hour free in a bid to encourage people to make shorter journeys using the bike hire system. The possibility of introducing an integrated ticketing system where cyclists could switch between buses and bikes using the same ‘smartcard’ is also being looked at.

Reading currently hosts a small ‘OYBike’ bike hire scheme, with approximately 15 bicycles at three docking locations, but the Council is not considering further expansion of this.

Cabinet meeting to discuss next stage

A meeting of Reading Council’s Cabinet, which takes place today, will discuss whether to take the bike hire scheme proposals to the next stage. This would involve transport officers moving the proposals from an outline business case to working up specific details like the scope and operational requirements of the scheme, submitting planning applications for docking stations and negotiating a sponsorship agreement.

Scheme report

An outline report on the proposed scheme is being presented to the Council’s cabinet. It can be found here. The report includes a map outlining potential docking locations.

Reading Borough Council transport officers have also been in discussions with its colleagues in Wokingham Borough Council about the possibility of extending the bike hire scheme to Woodley, Early and the business parks around Reading.

Update

The scheme got the go-ahead to move to the next stage from councillors at the Reading Borough Council Cabinet meeting on Monday night


from Going Going Bike – Auctions, Bike News, Cycle Stuff

See Also:

Hire bike scheme for Brighton in the offing

Dublin bike hire scheme set to expand

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