Brighton is set to get it’s own ‘Boris Bike’ service this summer, after Brighton & Hove City Council awarded a three year contract to run the scheme to UK owned operator Hourbike.
The seafront and Brighton Station have been suggested as potential ‘hubs’ with the scheme also operating along the A27, heading out to the university campus sites at Falmer.
Hourbike, who operate sharing schemes in other cities including Liverpool, Oxford and Reading, was selected as the preferred bidder after a tender process which attracted a total of four proposals.
The company will be responsible for managing and maintaining the service, similar to the so called ‘Boris bikes’ in London, as well as supplying the bikes and associated equipment.
The scheme is expected to bring new revenue to the council of between £20,000 and £25,000 a year, according to hourbike.
The sharing scheme should be up and running by June 2017, with up to 430 new Social Bicycles (“SoBi”) smartbikes available for residents and visitors to hire from hubs and docking stations at 50 locations across the city.
Prices 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.
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.