Transport for London (TfL) has reached an agreement with cycle hire sponsor Santander that will see the financial services provider continue its sponsorship of London’s flagship cycle hire scheme, Santander Cycles, for another three years until 2025.
The extension of Santander’s sponsorship will support TfL as it moves forward with planned investment in cycle hire, ensuring the scheme keeps pace with its extraordinary growth in recent years. The next three years will see Santander Cycles expanded to new areas of London and the introduction of e-bikes to the fleet for the first time. TfL and Santander are working on plans to introduce around 500 electric bikes into the scheme from next summer, helping to break down the barriers that stop some people from cycling, including fitness, age and journey length.
Planned modernisation will also include major updates to the Santander Cycles app, cycle hire terminals and back office systems that will enable TfL to deliver even greater flexibility for customers.
Santander’s sponsorship renewal comes as TfL’s cycle hire scheme has enjoyed one of its most successful years. This success has been generated by efficiencies including the introduction of Beryl GPS technology to help locate missing cycles and a significant increase in people hiring for longer during the coronavirus pandemic, as more people turned to cycling for their exercise. In March, London’s popular Santander Cycles scheme passed 100 million hires, marking a significant milestone in the scheme’s ten-year history.
“Cycling has been a lifeline for many Londoners over the past year and I’m determined to make it even more accessible to help us rebuild as a cleaner and greener city,” said Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. “Santander Cycle hire is key to this, so I’m delighted that TfL will be rolling out the scheme’s first e-bikes in summer next year and expanding it to cover new parts of our city thanks to Santander’s continued support.
More than 100,000 hires over the past year have been made by NHS staff and key workers as Santander Cycles have supported key workers through the coronavirus pandemic by offering free cycle hire access codes. A permanent NHS discount for annual memberships is now being developed as a continued show of appreciation.
Daily hire figures have been particularly strong in the past year with 18 of the 20 busiest days for the scheme being between March 2020 and March 2021 and record monthly hires in April 2021. Saturday 30 May 2020 saw the scheme’s second busiest day in its ten-year history, with 70,170 hires being made, which is only surpassed by 73,094 hires on the 9 July 2015, which coincided with a Tube strike.
Santander Cycles has also seen a huge growth in new customers over the last year with recent TfL figures showing that 24-hour Santander Cycles membership registrations rose by 193 per cent from March 2020 to March 2021, representing the largest increase in the scheme’s history. Meanwhile, registrations for new annual memberships increased by 22 per cent. To help meet this demand, TfL re-opened the Waterloo Hub on 26 April, which has provided 150 additional cycles to hire.
In May 2015, Santander and TfL announced a seven-year partnership. As the success of the cycle hire scheme continues to grow, both parties have now agreed to extend the contract until May 2025.