Cycle hire scheme’s offering expanded, with 500 e-bikes added from 12 September
Transport for London (TfL) and Santander have announced that e-bikes will be introduced to London’s record-breaking Santander Cycles scheme from 12 September.
In July, the scheme recorded its busiest month in its history, with more than 1.3 million hires across the month. To support the scheme’s continued success and financial sustainability, TfL and Santander are introducing 500 e-bikes to its fleet, which use an electric motor to assist riders as they pedal. The bikes are being introduced as part of a programme of work to modernise the cycle hire scheme, with funding agreed for the programme in 2020. The new e-bikes will be distributed across key central London locations and will enable even more Londoners to enjoy the benefits that cycling can bring, from improved health to cleaner air. The new bikes will help to break down the barriers that stop some people from cycling, including fitness, age, and journey length. E-bikes will be able to be docked at any of the scheme’s 800 docking stations, giving customers an easy and sustainable way of travelling across a large area of central and inner London.
TfL will also be making changes to the Santander Cycles fare tariff from 12 September, to support the introduction of e-bikes and to secure continued investment in cycle hire. The changes will make charges for access more flexible and easier to understand for everyone.
Feedback from customers has shown that the current tariff structure, which charges an annual membership fee or a daily access fee of £2, plus additional charges for rides longer than 30 minutes, is complex and inflexible. The changes, which are the first since 2013, include:
A new flat rate of £1.65 per 30-minute ride. This will replace the existing daily access charge, which is £2 for unlimited rides of up to 30 minutes in a 24-hour period, with additional charges for rides over 30 minutes
A new monthly membership option, costing £20 per month. The membership, which can be cancelled at any time, will allow customers unlimited 60-minute rides in the month and will improve the scheme’s offer to people who do not wish to commit to an annual membership
The annual membership will now offer unlimited 60-minute rides, instead of the unlimited 30-minute rides currently offered. The price of an annual membership will increase to £120, reflecting increased running costs and inflation since it was last changed in 2013
E-bikes will initially be available to registered users only, for a fare of £3.30 per 30-minute ride or an additional fare of £1 per 60 minutes for monthly and annual members
The £1.65 new flat rate for customers who are not Santander Cycles members matches the price of a bus fare, meaning that Santander Cycles will continue to offer one of the best value ways to get around London.
TfL has also confirmed that a number of new docking stations are set to open in the London Borough of Southwark later this year, the scheme’s first expansion since it was introduced to Bermondsey and Rotherhithe in 2019. The new docking stations will be located at Burgess Park Albany Road, South Bermondsey station, Clements Road, Harris Academy, Brandon Street, Crimscott Street and The Blue. The new docking stations will be built with funding from Southwark Council.
The scheme has continued to break records for 11 record months in a row, with every month from September 2021 to July 2022 achieving the highest number of hires for that month since the scheme began. The scheme also experienced a historic year in 2021 with a record-breaking number of hires across the year as well as during several different months. 10.9 million hires took place in 2021, surpassing the previous best target set in 2018 by 371,000 hires. More than one million individual customers used the cycle hire scheme last year, the first time this milestone has been reached in a calendar year. 178,000 new members joined the scheme in 2021, a seven per cent increase on 2020 and more than double that of any year prior to 2020.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “I am delighted to be launching our first ever e-bikes for hire. Another first for London hot on the heels of another record-breaking month for Santander Cycles, which saw an incredible 1.3m journeys in July. It will be great to see these new e-bikes on London’s streets soon.
“I’m determined to continue building a cleaner, greener London for everyone and this includes making cycling as accessible as possible. The new Santander Cycles e-bikes will play an important role in helping to break down some of the barriers that stop people from getting on a bike, including fitness, age and length of journey.”
David Eddington, TfL’s Head of Cycle Hire, said: “Santander Cycles is a vital part of London’s transport system and is more popular than ever, with the scheme seeing 11 record-breaking months in a row. We want to make sure that the scheme continues to be one of the easiest and most sustainable ways of travelling in the capital. The new bikes, alongside our simpler new tariff, will ensure that the scheme can build on this success and be financially sustainable, playing a full role in a green and healthy future for London.”
Dan Sherwood, Marketing Director, Santander UK: “Broadening out the appeal of Santander Cycles through the addition of the new e-bikes is great news for Londoners, meaning more people can take advantage of a sustainable and healthy way to travel. With popularity of the scheme at an all-time high, we hope the introduction of e-bikes, along with a simplified tariff structure, will ensure Santander Cycles continue to go from strength to strength.”
Cllr Catherine Rose, Southwark Council’s Cabinet Member for Parks, Streets and Clean Air, said: “We are delighted to be working with TfL to expand the Santander Cycle scheme further south in our borough and excited to welcome the first of these additional cycle hire docking stations at the junction next to Burgess Park. “The more people who switch from their cars to a bike, especially for short local trips, the better our air quality will be. People who cycle or walk more can also see improvements in physical and mental health. If you’ve not yet tried one, now is the time! We want to see more Santander bikes in more places in Southwark.”
The scheme was temporarily closed between 2200 on Friday 9 September and 0600 on Monday 12 September to allow its systems to be upgraded in preparation for the changes. During this time bikes that were on hire could be returned, but no hires could be made.
Last year it was announced that Santander will continue to sponsor London’s flagship cycle hire scheme until May 2025. This will support TfL as it moves forward with planned investment in cycle hire, ensuring the scheme continues to grow and encourage more Londoners to get cycling.