Transport for London (TfL) has announced a number of changes to its bike hire scheme.
Known as Santander Cycles since 2015 when the Spanish firm took over as sponsor from Barclays, the scheme offers over 10,000 bikes for hire from docking stations across London.
A total of 500 e-bikes are being introduced to the fleet from September 12, featuring electric motors “to assist riders as they pedal”.
They will initially be placed at key central London locations, although they can be docked at any of the scheme’s 800 docking stations.
The move will coincide with a revamped tariff structure, which TfL says “will make charges for access more flexible and easier to understand for everyone”.
Currently users pay £2 for unlimited journeys up to 30 minutes within a 24-hour period, plus £2 for each additional 30 minutes. There is also the option of a £90 annual membership, which enables regular users to ride without further charge for 30-minute periods (equating to 25p per day).
The new tariffs will see customers charged a flat rate of £1.65 per 30-minute ride, which TfL says “matches the price of a bus fare”. The annual membership will rise to £120 but will offer unlimited 60-minute rides, and there will also be a new £20 monthly membership fee, which again offers offer unlimited 60-minute rides and which can be cancelled at any time.
E-bikes will initially only be available to registered users, and will be charged at £3.30 per 30-minute ride for casual users, or £1 per 60 minutes for monthly and annual members.
Finally TfL said that it will open new docking stations later this year at Burgess Park Albany Road, South Bermondsey station, Clements Road, Harris Academy, Brandon Street, Crimscott Street and The Blue – all within the London Borough of Southwark.
The changes come as the scheme reported its busiest ever month in July 2022, with more than 1.3 million hires – indeed every month between September 2021 and July 2022 has reported record-breaking figures.
Note that the scheme will be temporarily closed between 2200 on Friday September 9 and 0600 on Monday September 12 to allow for systems to be upgraded. During this period, bikes that have already been hired will be able to be returned, but no new hires will be possible.
Santander recently committed to sponsoring the bike hire scheme until May 2025.
Commenting on the news, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said:
“I am delighted to be launching our first ever e-bikes for hire. Another first for London hot on the heels of another record-breaking month for Santander Cycles, which saw an incredible 1.3 million journeys in July. It will be great to see these new e-bikes on London’s streets soon.
“I’m determined to continue building a cleaner, greener London for everyone and this includes making cycling as accessible as possible. The new Santander Cycles e-bikes will play an important role in helping to break down some of the barriers that stop people from getting on a bike, including fitness, age and length of journey.”