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TfL celebrates ten years of cycle hire in capital

TfL is celebrating a decade of cycle hire in the capital.

On 30th July 2010, TfL introduced cycle hire to Londoners with 350 docking stations across eight London boroughs.

Today, these numbers have more than doubled: Londoners now have access to 781 docking stations and more than 12,000 bikes, with an additional 1,700 new bikes currently being added to the fleet.

TfL data shows that cycling has increased significantly during the lockdown period and beyond, as Londoners turn to Santander Cycles for commuting and leisure. More than 85,000 new members have signed up to the scheme since March – a 200% increase on the same period last year – contributing to more than 2.3 million hires throughout May and June.

Previously, the scheme had never surpassed more than 50,000 hires on a normal workday, a record that has now been broken 13 times over the last seven weeks. Santander Cycles saw its busiest ever week with 363,000 hires between 25th-31st May.

Throughout the pandemic, Santander Cycles has supported key workers by offering free access codes for NHS staff. More than 60,000 free journeys have been made since the NHS offer was made available in March, with the most popular location for code redemption close to St Thomas’s Hospital.

The anniversary comes as TfL celebrates five years of Santander sponsorship.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “We are determined to ensure that the capital’s recovery from coronavirus is healthy and sustainable – enabling more people to cycle is absolutely central to this. London’s cycle hire initiative has been a fantastic success story and over the past decade, we have seen this flagship scheme go from strength-to-strength.

“We are delighted that this summer there has been record-breaking demand for our Santander Cycles and we are capitalising on this by adding new docking stations, cycle hire hubs and bikes, which will make it even more convenient for Londoners to take to two wheels.

“Our world-leading Streetspace for London programme is also making it safer and easier to cycle in our city – more than 40km of new or upgraded cycle lanes have been built or are under construction, along with 16,000 square metres of extra pavement space.”

Helen Sharp, TfL’s head of cycle hire business development, said: “Ten years ago today we launched the cycle hire scheme. Today, our Santander Cycles are as familiar a sight on our streets as a black cab or a roundel, embraced by Londoners and visitors to our city alike.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate ten years of our successful cycle hire scheme, which is helping us to achieve our vision for London becoming one of the world’s best capital cities for cycling. Cycling has grown enormously over the last ten years and never more so than during this summer. There has never been a better time to cycle and we look forward to expanding our iconic Santander Cycles scheme in the months and years ahead.”

Dan Sherwood, director of marketing, Santander, added: “For the last ten years the scheme has played a significant role in the way millions of people experience the city, with records consistently being broken along the way. Since we started our partnership, we’ve worked hard to ensure Santander Cycles play an important part in keeping communities of all backgrounds connected and mobile in a healthy, sustainable and affordable way.

“From the installation of the green safety Beryl Laserlights, the creation of the hire app, the introduction of contactless payment systems, GPS tracking and the expansion into more boroughs, we’re proud to play a part in helping people and businesses through the scheme.”

To keep up with increasing demand for cycling, TfL is adding 1,700 new Santander Cycle bikes to the fleet, bringing the total on London’s streets to more than 14,000, and rolling out eight new docking stations this summer.

Three new docking stations are being built around Clapham Common, four will be built alongside the Cycleway 4 route, which will connect Tower Bridge Road with Rotherhithe, and one will be built at nearby Canada Water. A further six docking stations will be built by the end of the year.

TfL is also working closely with local boroughs to rapidly create space for cycling across the city, as part of the Streetspace plan. This includes building a strategic network for cycling in London, transforming town centres and reducing traffic on residential streets.

Work on a number of new cycle routes is underway in Camden and Waltham Forest, with routes set to link Chalk Farm to Kings Cross and Blackhorse Road to Haringey.

Santander Cycles can be hired from as little as £2 a day for an unlimited number of 30-minute journeys. The free app is available on the iTunes and Android App Stores, searching for Santander Cycles. People keen to start or return to cycling in London are encouraged to try TfL’s Online Cycle Skills training modules, which were launched last week.

Read the July edition of BikeBiz below:

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