Transport for London (TfL) has set out plans to expand the Santander Cycles scheme to keep up with unprecedented demand and help London’s recovery.
Thousands of Londoners are using bikes more often for both leisure and essential travel. Last month was the best May in London’s cycle hire scheme’s 10-year history, with 1,120,620 hires.
The free Santander Cycles hire scheme for NHS staff has also fuelled demand, with 30,000 free journeys made since the offer was made available in March.
TfL is rolling out eight new docking stations this summer: three new docking stations will be built around Clapham Common; four new docking stations will be built alongside the Cycleway 4 route; and one at nearby Canada Water. A further six docking stations will be built by the end of the year, TfL added.
Hubs at Liverpool Street and Soho reopened early to meet the increased demand. TfL is working to create more bike hubs in the coming months and plans to improve staffing at key cycle hub locations in central London longer term to ensure that more people can rely on the scheme for ‘last mile’ journeys from major rail stations.
TfL is also making 1,700 more Santander Cycle bikes available, bringing the total to more than 14,000 – an increase of nearly 15% and the largest single increase in bikes for the scheme since 2013.
As well as boosting the Santander Cycle hire scheme, TfL is working to rapidly create extra space for cycling and walking across the capital as part of the Mayor’s Streetspace for London programme, which is claimed could increase cycling 10-fold and walking five-fold post Covid-19 lockdown. Temporary changes are being made to roads to support safe walking and cycling and enable social distancing.
A recent poll commissioned by Centre for London revealed the majority of Londoners support making these temporary measures permanent.
Several changes, including a new cycle lane on Park Lane, extra pavement space at 17 high streets across the capital and changes to residential roads are already in place.
Walking and cycling will be central to London’s recovery, TfL confirmed.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m determined that our city’s recovery from coronavirus will be clean, green and sustainable and enabling more Londoners to cycle is absolutely central to this. I’m delighted by the unprecedented demand for cycling over the past few months.
“We’ve seen three times the number of people cycling in some parts of our city compared to before the crisis, huge demand for our free cycle hire scheme for NHS staff and carers, and multiple Santander Cycles records being broken. By adding new docking stations, cycle hire hubs and bikes we are making it even more convenient to take to two wheels.
“I am proud that our Streetspace for London plans are making it safer and easier to cycle in our city, and freeing up space on public transport for people who have no alternative.”