Brighton’s answer to Boris bikes to hit the road this summer

Posted On 12 Jan 2017 at 11:39 am

Brighton’s answer to Boris bikes will be bright red cycles with a union jack basket, and will hit the road this summer.
Brighton bikeshare2 resized
Hourbike, which already runs schemes in Liverpool, Oxford and Reading, has just been given a three year contract to run Brighton and Hove’s bike share, beating four other applicants.

It will supply the 430 bikes and associated equipment and then manage and maintain the service. Based on Hourbike’s initial projections, the scheme is expected to bring new revenue to the council of between £20-£25k a year.

The bikes will be available to hire from hubs and docking stations at 50 locations across the city. Hire costs will start from £2 per trip or £8 per day with users having the option to pay as they go on a 3p per minute tariff (minimum £2 charge) or purchase an annual membership at £72, which includes 30 minutes free use every day.

Popular sites including the seafront and Brighton Station have been suggested as potential hubs with the scheme also operating along the A27 corridor, heading out to the university campus sites at Falmer.

Informal consultation on the hubs affecting street parking was carried out with residents, businesses and councillors in the direct vicinity of the sites between Aug-Dec 2016. Details of all proposed hub sites, subject to planning process, are available on the council website.

Gill Mitchell, lead member for environment and sustainability at Brighton & Hove City Council, said: “This is an exciting scheme that should work well for the city. The aim is to provide a flexible service that will give more choice to those who live, work or visit the city – providing an opportunity to cycle, even if you don’t own a bike or can’t bring one with you.”

Tim Caswell, managing director, Hourbike Ltd, added: “We’re thrilled to have been selected to deliver a new bike sharing scheme for Brighton & Hove. We know the number of people travelling around the city by bike is increasing so we’re looking forward to helping build on this with an additional cost-effective travel option.”

Infrastructure and start-up costs for the bikeshare scheme are £1.45 million, with £1.16 million secured by the council from the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) and a further £290,000. matchfunding from the council’s Local Transport Plan. Once operational, HourBike will be responsible for covering all other costs.

  1. Gerald Wiley Reply

    Well, lets hope this scheme works, but I’m not convinced as this is yet another of those “hair brained” ideas that came originally from the pen of ex-green party councillor Ian Davey (what did happen to him?).

    So who will be using the bikes? I can’t really see those who live or work in the city would want to hire a bike at £2 per trip (or £8 per day) if a daily bus pass would only cost £4.20 – if they are that keen on cycling then they would probably own a bike anyway.

    Perhaps visitors to the city arriving by train, bus or car? So we need a hub by Brighton Station, but even this is not certain – only potential!

    What about people coming by car who might want to park near the outskirts and cycle into the centre?

    What about those coming by bus? All buses focus on North Street and Churchill Square which is half-way up a hill. But perhaps hubs near the Old Steine might work allowing level cycling to the Marina and the i360?

    No – it seems that there is some optimistic “belief” that students based along the Lewes Road corridor will want to use them.

    Rental bikes were originally discounted due to the hilly nature of the city and the need to transport bikes back up the hills to the various hubs.

    What about routes for the rental cyclists to use who maybe unsure about the local road system. There isn’t space to put a complete cycle network into the city where cyclists are given dedicated routes so that they can safely cycle without worrying about other traffic. Will additional funding be needed to provide the “safe routes” once the first “rental bike” fatality occurs?

    You’d have thought the plans for the number of sites for hubs with estimates of number of hires would be set by now so that they could determine how the £20k-25k per annum additional revenue is calculated.

    Or was this just a “finger in the air” estimate based upon the various other schemes that have already been implemented in relatively flat cities with good parking facilities. To me a 1.5% return on investment each year seems quite poor for yet another scheme that may, or may not, even work.

    When the city is worried about income and expense to make the budgets balance, it seems strange that a scheme such as this that does nothing to improve income or reduce costs is being pushed through. But then this is, of course, a council rather than a real business where they don’t have to look at how to improve the profitability of Brighton and Hove plc.

  2. Rolivan Reply

    If à Private company is running it why did they not stump up the money, they are operating with no risk and it is à license to print money.All they are up for is emp’oying à few people on minimum wage to move bikes about.

  3. Hjarrs Reply

    Good old Wiley, you can always rely on him to back a good idea. This is Wiley labelled “hair brained” idea that has worked in London for a number of years and I can see no reason for it not to work in B&H, even better if neighbouring authorities could take part.

    The bike rental scheme has taken a number of years to take shape, so let’s give it some support and hope it helps just a little to ease the city’s transport problems.

    Perhaps an article could be written on the trial of electric bikes that happened a few years ago? Is that the next step? Will electric hire bikes encourage yet more people to take up two wheel transport?

    • Rolivan Reply

      The latest Electric Bikes seem to bé à lot lighter and battery packs smqller However the cost is quite expensive and would need lots of charging points Perhaps with the New Street Lightning it could include à charger at ground level.

    • Gerald Wiley Reply

      Very interesting – so are electric bikes proposed? I see nothing of this mentioned in the proposal.

      Or is this just your creative justification for Davey’s change of support for rent-a-bike that he originally decided was unworkable?

      London has all the space and level ground to allow rent-a-bike to work well – we don’t!

    • Gerald Wiley Reply

      So £1.4m spent for a “hope” that it helps “a little” – oh such sweet memories of how the green party decides to spend public money!

      Do you remember how much was wasted on the Old Shoreham Road and Edward Street grandiose cycle lane schemes? Was this also based upon “hope”?

      • Hjarrs Reply

        In your opinion everything is a waste. The city cannot fit anymore so we must seek alternatives.

        Very little has been spent encouraging cycling in the city over the last 6 years, circa £10 million, if that, and the vast majority of that came from from grant funding that you naysayers would have liked to go to other towns and cities. The overall effect of this money has been to see cycling increase tremendously across the city.

        By the way some people prattle on you would think half the annual council budget of £700 million + goes on cycling!

        Compare this to the hundreds of millions spent on the A23 & A27 in the same period and the works to encourage cycling in the city look like the bargain of the century!

        • Gerald Wiley Reply

          No – just wanting the various projects to be cost justified. If it turns out that the £1.4m has resulted in minimal increased cycling and reduction in motor usage then those who proposed the scheme should be held to account – just like Ian Davey should be for the wasted money he spent on his various grandiose vanity schemes.

          It’s just amazing what you consider to be bargains when there is no subsequent measurement to see how it performed nor pre-defined success criteria. But then as I said at the beginning, is what we have come to expect from councils – especially when Green Party activists pushing their ideological plans are involved.

          So if the rent-a-bike scheme is an absolute financial disaster you would still call it a success! And according to you, residents shouldn’t be worried about where our council tax goes!

          Heaven preserve us from the Green Party and their clueless supporters.

  4. sally Reply

    It would be great if this reached out to rottingdean or saltdean as a lot of people like to cycle along the undercliff pass

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