Waltham Forest will become one of the first boroughs in London to launch a dockless bike hire scheme.
Urbo, an external European delivery partner, will be starting a one year long trial in the borough from October 2017. They will initially bring 250 bikes, a number that will increase with demand, which can be hired for 50p per half hour. If the trial is successful, the scheme will be introduced permanently in Autumn 2018.
The bikes are completely digitally operated and easy to use - either locate and select an available bike via an app, or walk up to a bike and scan its QR code. You will then receive a four digit code to type into the wheel lock. When you finish your journey, simply click the lock back into place.
Cllr Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Member for the Environment for Waltham Forest, said: “This trial scheme will enable cycling to be affordable and convenient, and we are delighted to be working with a reputable partner who are contributing to making cycling truly accessible to the residents, workers and visitors of Waltham Forest. This not only offers affordable sustainable transport for the borough, it will also help residents feel healthier through more exercise and less pollution.”
To minimise disruption, Waltham Forest have allocated over 30 ‘Dockless Bike Parking Zones’ near transport interchanges, town centres, colleges and Whipps Cross Hospital for the bikes to be collected from and returned to. The number of ‘Dockless Bike Parking Zones’ will increase as the scheme progresses. ‘Dockless Bike Parking Zone’ locations will be tailored to fit demand based on user data gathered by Urbo.
The bikes will have the latest technology in the locking mechanism ensuring that we know where they are at all times and badly parked bikes can be quickly relocated. Users will also be incentivised, through a rewards scheme, to return the bikes to the ‘Dockless Bike Parking Zones’. The maintenance and repairs of the bikes will be carried out by established local bikes shops in the Borough and local staff employed by Urbo will be paid the London Living Wage.
For the first three months residents and visitors will only need to pay £1 membership fee, before they can then simply pay for the time they use the bikes. The costs for the rest of the trial period are currently being reviewed.
Shane Connaughton, co-founder of Urbo, with over 30 years’ experience in the cycle industry said: “Ultimately, cycling is meant to be fun, affordable and convenient, and we are delighted to be able to make it truly accessible to the residents and visitors of Waltham Forest. Our goal is now to expand the scheme across the city, bringing a valuable and enjoyable transport service to all those who live, work, and spend time in the capital. We would like to thank Waltham Forest Council for welcoming us to the neighbourhood. We look forward to a long partnership together and we’re excited about bringing our service to boroughs throughout London, starting with Waltham Forest today.”
Waltham Forest Council has developed a Memorandum of Understanding with Urbo to ensure appropriate mechanisms are in place to manage any possible challenges arising from this innovative scheme.