London Hire Bike sponsor Santander is getting behind a brand new cycle hire scheme in Milton Keynes in spring 2016.
The large-scale project will include over 500 bikes at around 60 docking stations in the town. Although the plans are yet to be finalised, the scheme is expected to use the 'Redway' network across the city, which covers 169 miles of shared use paths for cyclists and pedestrians.
The venture will see Milton Keynes Council and Milton Keynes City Centre Management collaborate with Santander and nextbike in a seven year deal. Nextbike Smartbikes allow users to hire the bike through a smartphone app, with membership cards or via the cycle itself. It will service a large area of MK, including residential areas.
Santander is a big local employer. CEO Nathan Bostock said: "Our plans were always to broaden this commitment [to support areas Santander works in] into other communities and as our largest employee hub, Milton Keynes is an obvious place for us to support in this way.
“We will be looking to share best practice between Santander Cycles in London and Milton Keynes, where it makes sense and adds value.
“We know that a cycle hire scheme provides mobility to more people so they can embrace the opportunities around them that could shape their future. And it does it in an accessible, healthy and socially responsible way."
One local news site is reported that users will be able to take the bikes home overnight as they won't operate over pre-paid time slots. The service is expected to be cheaper than London's, though details are still being ironed out.
The impact of how cycle hire schemes can make cities (and towns) more bike-friendly is one of many in our recent feature on Dublin's long-running bike hire offering.