A pilot to bring dockless bike share to Richmond upon Thames will launch in April.
Advancements in technology means bicycle hire schemes no longer require docking stations, as provided with the current Santander London cycle hire scheme, with the technology now built directly into the bikes themselves.
Users of the new system will register on an app and use this to locate the closest bike, to release it using a given code and to pay for the hire. The bikes can then be left and re-locked, ending the hire period, anywhere in the area of operation. As a result cyclists will have greater flexibility in where and when they can travel in London.
Bicycles will be phased in over a number of months, starting with roughly 200 bikes and growing to meet demand for the service over time. Service providers will be required to redistribute the bikes as necessary and to manage the bikes in a way that does not create an obstruction to other road users, particularly pedestrians.
Cllr Peter Buckwell, Cabinet Member for Highways and Street Scene said:
“Introducing this pilot is part of the Council’s move to increase the rate of cycling to 15 per cent of all trips by 2026. Reaching that goal will not only improve the overall health of people in the borough but will contribute to the Council’s Air Quality Action Plan by reducing the level of travel related air pollution in this borough.
“The bike share scheme will help make cycling more accessible and low cost for our residents and road users, which will hopefully increase the number of people who choose cycling as their primary mode of transport.
“Whilst the benefit of this scheme is that the bikes can be parked anywhere we anticipate early trials to focus on the hubs around Richmond and Twickenham Stations which generate most traffic. Further locations will be identified for the deployment and distribution of bikes based on demand.”
Cllr Jean Loveland, Richmond Council’s Cycling Champion said:
“Cycling is good for the environment, good for the health of our residents and we want make it easier for more people to cycle to, from and within our borough. This is a great initiative and I hope people take advantage of it.”
Cllr Gareth Elliott, Cabinet Member for Digital said:
“Richmond is a beautiful borough and it is sometimes difficult to implement physical infrastructure. This dockless bike trial uses technology to alleviate this concern and will provide residents with a convenient and innovative transport solution that keeps Richmond moving and opens up a whole new biking option to visitors and residents alike.”
— from a Richmond Council press release - 12 March 2018