Transport for Edinburgh and Serco has announced that they have signed the concession agreement for Serco to introduce and operate a new cycle hire scheme for the City of Edinburgh – with the first bikes due to hit the City’s streets later this summer.
The scheme will match elements of Serco’s experience of operating the London Cycle Hire Scheme with the experience of Norwegian bike share developer and operator Urban Infrastructure Partner (UIP) in running the cycle hire schemes in Oslo and Bergen.
Using bikes from Serco’s partner on the London scheme Pashley Cycles, the scheme will be targeted at Edinburgh residents, in particular visitors and students. To cope with the generally hillier terrain, Pashley chosen Shimano drivetrain with gear ratios capable of taking on steeper inclines.
The bikes will be equipped with UIP’s smart technology, including built-in GPS and GSM capability, thus enabling real-time communication between the bike and back office control systems. This will help Serco to ensure the bikes are well-maintained and distributed to the right docking station locations at the right time to meet customer demand.
To develop links with education, TfE has a Memorandum of Understanding with The University of Edinburgh, making the University an active partner for the scheme helping to coordinate the engagement of all other Edinburgh Universities and Colleges. The relationship is part of the University’s recently announced plan to be zero carbon by 2040.
The University of Edinburgh’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Peter Mathieson, said: “We are delighted to be an official partner in a scheme that will provide a cheap, healthy and fun way to explore our city. It is an initiative that is in line with our commitment to support our students, staff and visitors to travel by bike, to reduce environmental impact and to promote wellbeing. We are pleased to do our part in helping the City of Edinburgh Council meet its target of 15 per cent of Edinburgh residents cycling to work by 2020.”
The initial three-year concession agreement will deliver 500 manual cycles as well as 100 electric cycles. The first 200 manual cycles will be operational in time for the start of the university academic year, and the number of manual cycles available will increase to 500 by April 2019 along with the intended plan for e-bike hire.
In the long run, an introduction of around 2,000 bicycles will take place in the city, as dictated by user demand.
Individuals will be able to hire cycles through an annual membership, on a daily basis, or for shorter periods. The shorter period hire requires further market research to determine if a single ride or perhaps an hour long hire is preferable.
A high profile sponsor for the scheme is now sought by Serco.
Angus Cockburn, Serco’s Group Chief Financial Officer, Edinburgh resident and Chair of Serco in Scotland said: “We are extremely excited to have the opportunity, in partnership with Transport for Edinburgh, to bring to Edinburgh the truly-world class cycle hire scheme that a city of its global standing deserves. At Serco we see a huge potential opportunity to improve urban mobility across the City, helping to support economic growth, reduce traffic congestion, and improve health and wellbeing. We are looking forward to building partnerships with the City’s employers, community organisations and attractions to raise awareness of the scheme as a fun, healthy, easy, environmentally friendly and affordable way to travel. And, as an Edinburgh resident myself I am looking forward to using the new cycle scheme as an easy and accessible means of travelling around the City.”