London changes gear in 2015

The London bike share scheme, started in 2010, now has a new sponsor, Spanish-owned Santander. The bank, which will pay €61m (£43.75m) over seven years, beat competition from a number of businesses in a bidding process which required potential sponsors to match cash offers with promises to support the scheme’s growth and engage with users. Transport for London (TfL) will receive €8.7m (£6.25m) a year in each of the seven years plus a €1.4m (£1m) yearly ‘activation fund’ to promote Santander Cycles and reach new customers through rewards, offers and incentives.

Already the new red coloured bikes, nicknamed ‘Boris Bikes’ after the Mayor, are appearing on the streets of London (photo) and the changeover will be complete in July 2015. There will also be a new simplified charging system moving away from a graduated cost system to a flat fee based on time,  which it’s hoped will be easier to understand. VeloCitta project partners, the London boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth are working closely with TfL to ensure that the new system is even more successful in the future. The two inner London boroughs have a mix of bike users: employees, students and residents and the challenge is to ensure the scheme works for all types of Londoners and for visitors too. Councillor Mark Williams, Southwark’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport said ”xxxxxxx”.

Councillor Williams from Southwark: In Southwark we have a clear target to more than double cycling over the next ten years. The benefits of cycling are clear with improved public health, less congestion, better air quality and improved public spaces for everyone. Cycle hire plays an important part in increasing cycling and we welcome the new initiatives being taken by Santander, we are keen to see cycle-hire expand further into our borough so that more of our residents from all backgrounds can benefit from using them regularly.” 

The scheme has about 165,000 registered users and Santander hopes to grow bike usership with a number of exciting ideas, such as a developing a world-first Cycles app allowing people to control the whole experience from the palm of their hand, appointing ‘cycle champions’ in each bank branch who’ll be trained to help people get involved and running Festivals of Cycling all over the capital.