Brighton hire bikes may have to be driven back up hill thanks to Montmartre effect

Posted On 26 Jan 2017 at 1:55 pm

The operators of Brighton’s new bike share scheme say they may have to transport bikes borrowed from the top of Brighton and Hove’s hills back up them if too many people don’t pedal back up the city’s slopes to return them.
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HourBike, which was won the tender to operate the scheme due to start in the summer, says it will allow people to return bikes to any docking station.

Although most of the stations are in the city’s valleys with minimal slopes in between, a handful are at the top of hills which could prove challenging to people not used to tackling them.

Tim Caswell, managing director of HourBike said: “You can take the bike back to any docking station. It can also be parked away from docking stations to make life easier.

“There is a sat nav system on the bike that enables new renters to find bikes nearest them. The costs vary and will be used to encourage people to return them to docking stations.

“Ultimately we may have to focus operational efforts in redistributing bikes back uphill, it is all part of our learning process of how people will use the bikes in Brighton.”

The issue is known as the “Montmartre effect” because when the Paris bike share scheme was started, it soon became clear that tourists were hiring bikes from the peak of Montmartre, whizzing down the hill and then returning them to docking stations at the bottom.

Similar issues have arisen in other cities where bike share schemes have started, including London.

Of the sites proposed for docking stations, Seven Dials and the Pepperpot are the highest, and the most likely to need replenishing.

  1. Gerald Wiley Reply

    Ex-Green councillor Ian Davey initally discounted rent-a-bike schemes due to the hilly nature of the city, but then for some reason changed his mind.

    Labour councillor Gill Mitchell then decides to go with the scheme, ignoring such warnings.

    HourBike wins the contract subsidised by #1.5m of public money to “hopefully” increase cycling without having spotted that the city was hilly and now decides that they may have to transport bikes back up to cycle hubs at the top of hills.

    Will HourBike want additional funding for this? And what about the other hubs as Brighton Station being used by visitors?

    And now it seems that Gill Mitchell is getting another #1.5m of public money to “hopefully” increase sustainable traportation rates.

    I’ve got a bad feeling about this project!

  2. David Whittington Reply

    Maybe lowered charge for riders cycling up hills & returning these hire bikes ? Would keep accessibility of bikes at most locations pretty high.

  3. M. Funnell Reply

    Sounds a bit like the electric car syndrome, whereupon the cars are based in the city centre – no good to those on the outskirts needing a car – walk 3 miles into town before accessing the car?

    Recently a relative drove a state of the art electric car from Germany to Brighton, only to find the nearest battery recharging for his new car was either Croydon or Dover.
    None of the very few electric battery chargers in Brighton were suitable as they worked on a different battery system.

  4. Pingback: Sistema de bicicletas compartilhadas em Nova York paga ciclistas para melhorar o serviço | TheCityFix Brasil

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