Liverpool is gearing-up for its new cycle hire scheme with the appointment of an official operator.
UK supplier HourBike Ltd has been chosen to run the scheme – which is set to be the biggest in the UK outside London – after a competitive tender process.
It paves the way to the launch of the scheme in April, with the roll-out of up to 100 bikes at 10 city centre stations. By July, there will be 500 bikes at 50 stations; with 1,000 bikes at more than 100 stations, across the city, by March 2015.
Based in Surrey, HourBike launched its Cycle Hire Service in 2007 and is currently running or installing systems in Dumfries, Lincoln, Nottingham, Reading and Southport. The company also acted as consultants on Moscow’s large cycle hire scheme.
They will be bringing this expertise and experience to Liverpool, to deliver a hi-tech, user-friendly service, which aims to get thousands of people in the city building cycling into their daily lives.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “Liverpool’s Cycle Hire scheme has the potential to bring huge benefits to our city, providing a convenient and environmentally-friendly way of getting around for hundreds of people – from local residents and commuters, to students and tourists.
“We’re delighted to have HourBike on board. They have extensive experience in running schemes around the country, and I know they are as excited as we are to be delivering such a large, ambitious project here in Liverpool.
“It’s now all systems go for our launch in April. I’m looking forward to seeing a first-class cycle hire scheme delivered in this city, one which will help us cut carbon emissions and make cycling accessible for all.”
Liverpool’s cycle hire scheme was announced last year. Since then, extensive consultation has been carried out with local people, businesses, key tourism and sites and educational institutions to get their views on the scheme, how they would use it, and where they would like stations to be located.
The city council also held a Cycle Hire Demonstration Week in the city centre last July, giving hundreds of people the chance to try out bikes from a range of suppliers, get to grips with how to use the stations and provide feedback.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Councillor Tim Moore, said: “This is a really exciting project for our city, and I’m delighted that we have been able to secure an operator with such a strong pedigree to deliver it.
“We’ll be working closely with HourBike to make this scheme a real success and to connect with a wide range of people – from commuters and tourists to shoppers and students.
“We want to put Liverpool at the forefront of sustainable transport, limit the growth of car journeys and widen the appeal and accessibility of cycling for local people. This scheme is a great way of doing that. It’s all about tackling congestion and offering people a cheaper, healthier and more environmentally friendly way of getting around the city.
“I’m looking forward to the official launch of this scheme. Our ultimate aim is that wherever you are in the city centre, you will be no more than a three-minute walk from a cycle station.”
Tim Caswell, Managing Director at Hourbike Ltd, said: “We are delighted that Liverpool City Council has chosen Hourbike as its partner for this exciting project. Liverpool is such an iconic city and this will be a new and exciting public transport system for the residents, commuters and visitors to Liverpool as we roll out the scheme during 2014 and early 2015.”
The funding for the Liverpool City Cycle scheme comes from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF), allocated by the Department for Transport (DfT). Liverpool has received £2.8m from the fund, of which £1.5 million is being invested in delivering the cycle hire scheme. The remainder of the funding has been committed to a number of cycling and signalling infrastructure improvements, and sustainable transport initiatives in different parts of the city.
The LSTF aims to reduce the number of journeys made by car, promote sustainable transport, and reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. It also aims to enhance access to employment and other essential services and improve journey time and reliability.