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Are you fit and ready for Liverpool's Boris bike scheme?

Mayor Joe says get those knees up

Written by . Published on April 10th 2013.

Are you fit and ready for Liverpool's Boris bike scheme?

HOT on the wheels of Boris bikes, the biggest cycle hire scheme outside London has finally been approved in Liverpool. 

From this autumn, up to 1,000 cycles will be available for hire – the first 30 minutes will be free – from, eventually, 100 access points across the city. 

'The challenge is to make the scheme
financially sustainable after its first three
years of operation  so that it requires
little further subsidy from the council'

Perhaps with an eye on European Green Capital status, Mayor Joe Anderson's aim is to encourage people to use a more eco-friendly form of transport than the car – with the health benefits of cycling an added bonus. 

And it’s been worked out if every one of those 1,000 bikes are used four times a day it will save 350 tonnes of carbon falling on the planet.

Until recently, none of the likely bike-scheme operators were prepared to even engage in first gear without a major sponsor – Barclays Bank sponsor the Boris Johnson’s London bike scheme. 

Chris Boardman to the Liverpool bike scheme rescueChris Boardman to
the Liverpool bike scheme rescue
But now six potential operators have so far come forward, thanks to a European soft-sell front last month by cycling hero Chris Boardman. 

Whether a city like Liverpool, built on a series of hills, is the ideal place for a massive cycle hire scheme remains to be seen. Those journeys up Brownlow Hill and up Upper Duke Street as well as Everton Brow will have hardy riders' hearts pumping into top gear. Not to mention wobbly legs. 

Major Joe’s cabinet has now agreed to seek a suitable operator for the scheme, with an agreement lasting for up to 10 years. 

Most of the cost of setting up and running the hire scheme will come from a £2.8m award from Merseyside’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund. 

The cycle hire scheme will swallow up over £1.3m of that pot. The council will chip in with £175,000 taking the total cost to £1.5m. 

In June 2011, when the scheme was first discussed, a process started for a pilot hire scheme in Liverpool, but was unsuccessful in attracting any operators. 

A report to the cabinet recognised Liverpool has a low level of bicycle ownership. This means a cycle hire scheme will widen the appeal of cycling especially for the so-called “last mile” of the journey to and from work. 

There will also be some cycle route improvements, it says, which will be beneficial to all pushbike riders. 

So who will be taking to the saddle on the streets of Liverpool?

 According to the council report, the scheme will focus on:

• Short commuting trips replacing car journeys

• Short trips between sites to attend business meetings

• “Student movements”

• Trips in conjunction with public transport

• Trips made by residents and tourists

 The scheme has been designed to provide a bike just long enough for a journey between one of the several access stations. 

As soon as the bike is returned to a station it will be available for the next person to hire. It is likely that the first half-hour will be free, with charges rising quite steeply for longer periods of rental.

The scheme has not been designed for someone who wants to hire a bike for a set period (e.g. a day) for their own use exclusively. 

It’s expected the hire scheme will be launched with 300 bikes in the city centre this autumn, 2013, and expanded over 18 months to a total of 1,000 bikes when access locations will extend to, at least, the near suburbs of the city. 

Liverpool Cycle Scheme Boris Bikes
The aim is to have a number of electrically-assisted bikes (great for the return journey up and beyond St James Mount) as well as power points for re-charging low-carbon electric vehicles. 

Transport and Climate Change Cabinet Member Tim Moore says the council expects the scheme will quickly expand to become a renowned, long term facility for employees, residents and visitors. 

“The challenge is to make the scheme financially sustainable after its first three years of operation  so that it requires little further subsidy from the council. 

“This project is a key component in addressing the challenge of climate change by widening available choices of sustainable travel around the city. 

“With the recent increases in the number of people living, working and visiting the city centre, the time is right to introduce a cycle hire scheme to reduce reliance on the car and to offer a low carbon, low cost and healthier way to get around Liverpool.” 

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11 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Leon KayApril 10th 2013.

Honestly where is Joe Stalin getting the money from one minute he's broke then he's got oodles of cash to lavish on a piss poor scheme. Bo Jo has not seen a return on this scheme so why should Stalin. PATHETIC.

Paul DeanApril 11th 2013.

Congrats !On something different , L.C Council ! Theres similar schemes for different things ALL Over Europe . Schemes can only be tried out . The a Aternative is stagnation ! Another world for Conservatism .

AnonymousApril 12th 2013.

I dont think not having a bike hire scheme is stagnation, liverpool city centre is small enough to walk around for most do we really need this? more to the point do we need this more than we need some of the welfare services that are to be cut? or is it worth selling off our parks to run a bike hire trial? I think liverpool probably has bigger priorities but then perhpas Joe is more interested in legacy here than prudent management.

AnonymousApril 14th 2013.

Hope there's a defib machine at the top of every hill in Liverpool. The problem is Liverpool is such a cycle unfriendly city. The cycling infrastructure is poor, and dangerous. Add to that the dislike of yer average Scouse car driver to pedal power and cyclists will be dicing with death. I'll give it six months.

SpokesmanApril 14th 2013.

As has been said on here before many times cycling in Liverpool city centre will only become worthwhile when many of the blocked-off streets are re-opened and one-way systems changed.
Unless of course the Council wants people illegally cycling over the pavements and the wrong way up one-way streets.
Law-abiding cyclists leave their bikes at home because the city centre is so full of obstacles they always end up having to dismount and walk with them.

1 Response: Reply To This...
saddle snifferJuly 19th 2013.

And take away these stupid widened pavements and car-parking spaces! They make the roads dangerous for cyclists.

ConfusedApril 14th 2013.

It will be interesting to see where the 'stations' are to be sited.
Supposing you ride the last mile to work on one of these bikes and there's no vacant space in the rack nearest your destination; what are you supposed to do - take it back where you found it or dump it outside work?

Bike CuriousApril 14th 2013.

It looks like the City Council will have to house-train he taxi drivers and the scallies-

Amanda ShawMay 26th 2013.

As someone who bikes to work and back, nearly every day, the scheme is very much welcomed. It's amazing how quickly you come to realise that pedal power is satisfying, gives you time to think and you can see a whole lot more on your travels. Bring it on. Great news Joe -. Amanda Shaw, Ormskirk.

David WebsterJuly 19th 2013.

We need a bye-law making it an offence to park a car in a cycle lane.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Bike CuriousJuly 19th 2013.

It already is an offence, but it isn't enforced. Like drivers illegally dazzling everyone else and each other with fog lights at night when it isn't foggy. That's three points on your licence of the police can be arsed.

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