New £10 million bike hire scheme arriving in Manchester

A new bike hire scheme will arrive in Manchester in 2021.

The initial phase of the project – which claims lessons have been learned from the unsuccessful Mobike rollout – will provide around 1,500 bikes to the Greater Manchester area in the spring.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority is said to be confident the new service will be a hit among commuters, students and those living in disadvantaged communities.

The entire fleet, which will include e-bikes, will be docked in a bid to make them more secure than their Mobike predecessors.

In 2018, Manchester became the first city in the world to have the service withdrawn by the Chinese bike-sharing giant after some of their dockless bikes were stolen or badly damaged. But Manchester, together with Salford and Trafford, will be the first of the city-region’s ten boroughs to try out the new bike hire scheme in 2021.

The areas were chosen due to their “large student population, high numbers of visitors, several attractors and high cycle propensity amongst residents”.

A combined authority report said: “Over the past five years, several independent studies and practical demonstrations have confirmed that there is a demand for a public bike share scheme in Greater Manchester.

“The service would support first mile/last mile journeys by fixed public transport modes, and, in successful schemes around the world, such services complement tram, bus and rail networks.

“Officers have expressed concerns to ensure that the scheme supports wider ambitions in the regional centre, such as pedestrianisation and should assist in getting people to work and in linking to residential areas.”

The combined authority has already pledged £5 million towards improvements to make walking and cycling easier while social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

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