Beryl, Herefordshire Council announce free ride initiative

Beryl and Herefordshire Council have announced a free ride initiative.

The initiative will run from 29th July, when Beryl marks one year of cycling in Hereford, through to the end of August. As lockdown continues to ease, Hereford’s bike share operator is encouraging residents to make more pedal-powered trips to help to rejuvenate the city’s local economy and enjoy being outside while moving in a safe and sustainable way.

In Hereford, as part of Beryl’s #BetterByBike initiative, the first 30 minutes of all journeys ending in a Beryl Bay will be free. To access the promotion, residents can download the free Beryl App on relevant smartphone stores, set up their account and ride. 

Hereford is one of many cities across the UK that has seen a noticeable increase in cycling levels during the lockdown period and global research shows that cycling can be beneficial to individuals’ physical and mental health as well as the community. Cyclists visit shops more frequently than people in private cars and can spend up to 40% more than motorists. In just the first year on-street, Herefordians have taken over 50,000 trips by Beryl bike and contributed more than 130,000 kilometres to the over a million kilometres cycled by Beryl Bikes to date.

In anticipation of the free ride initiative, Beryl has increased its fleet to 200 bikes and will be implementing an additional 25 bays across the service area. This means that 92% of Hereford residents will be within a five-minute walking distance of a ‘Beryl Bay’, further encouraging users to make bay-to-bay journeys.

Beryl has also updated its riding services to include a pause ride feature, allowing riders to stop out-of-bay for up to 15 minutes without ending the ride. To ensure continued responsible use of the scheme, Beryl will also be updating its out-of-bay parking fee to £5 in line with its other schemes across the UK. This will continue beyond the #BetterByBike free ride initiative.

Councillor John Harrington, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, said: “We’re thrilled to be working in partnership with Beryl to bring their #BetterByBike initiative to Herefordshire. It’s difficult to believe it is a whole year since we launched Beryl Bikes in the county, but they have been a resounding success with Herefordians having made over 50,000 trips so far. With more bikes than ever before and new bays on the way, there has never been a better time to begin using Beryl Bikes and enjoying more convenient, cost-effective, healthy and environmentally friendly travel.”

Beryl CEO Philip Ellis added: “We are delighted at the enthusiasm and level of support the Herefordshire Council have shown in making this initiative a reality. Summer is the perfect time to get out on the bike and start to change transport habits that we haven’t previously questioned. For example 68% of car journeys in the UK are under 5 miles. A quarter are under one mile. Cycling may not be the best option for all trips – but by making the switch for short journeys, people can free up valuable space on public transport, reduce congestion on our roads and make streets safer.”

Those using Beryl Bikes are encouraged to wash their hands immediately before and after use, stay two metres away from others whilst cycling and not to ride in groups. Beryl’s guidance on safe use of the service can be found here.

For more information on the initiative, please visit beryl.cc.

Read the July edition of BikeBiz below:

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