Transport for London (TfL) has announced that e-bikes are now available to hire as part of an expansion of the capital’s existing cycle hire scheme, sponsored by Santander.
The new e-bikes have been distributed across key central London locations and can be docked at any of the scheme’s 800 docking stations. The e-bikes are serviced on street by cargo bikes, ensuring that the scheme is as sustainable as possible. Initially e-bikes will be available to registered users only, for a fare of £3.30 per 30-minute ride or an additional fare of £1 per 60 minutes for monthly and annual members.
The cycle-hire scheme has seen record levels of hires this year, with 9.5 million hires so far. This is 1.2 million higher than the same point last year, with every month from August 2021 to August 2022 recording the highest number of hires for the corresponding month.
The e-bikes have been introduced to support the scheme’s continued success and financial sustainability, as part of a programme of work to modernise the cycle hire scheme, with funding agreed for the programme in 2020. The new e-bikes will enable even more Londoners to enjoy the benefits that cycling can bring, from improved health to cleaner air. The new bikes will also help to break down the barriers that stop some people from cycling, including fitness, age and journey length.
TfL has also made changes to the Santander Cycles fare tariff to support the introduction of e-bikes and to secure continued investment in cycle hire. These changes were introduced on Monday 12 September. Feedback from customers indicated the previous tariff structure, which charged an annual membership fee or a daily access fee of £2, plus additional charges for rides longer than 30 minutes, could be made less complex and more flexible. The changes, which are the first since 2013, include:
• A flat rate of £1.65 per 30-minute ride, the same as a bus fare. This has replaced the daily access charge, which was £2 for unlimited rides of up to 30 minutes in a 24-hour period, with additional charges for rides over 30 minutes
• A monthly membership option, costing £20 per month. The membership, which can be cancelled at any time, allows customers unlimited 60-minute rides in the month
• The annual membership now offers unlimited 60-minute rides, instead of the unlimited 30-minute rides previously offered. The price of an annual membership has increased to £120, reflecting increased running costs and inflation since it was last changed in 2013
“I am delighted to see our first ever Santander Cycles e-bikes in action on London’s streets today, and to join Londoners riding these e-bikes around our city on their first day. Their launch is another momentous moment for cycling in London after a record-breaking year for TfL’s Santander Cycles which saw over 12.5m hires,” says Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. “The new e-bikes have an important role to play in breaking down some of the barriers that prevent Londoners from getting on a bike, whether that be fitness, age or length of journey. I’m determined to make cycling as accessible as possible as we continue building a safer, greener, more prosperous London for everyone.”
David Eddington, TfL’s head of cycle hire, adds: “Santander Cycles is a vital part of London’s transport system and the scheme has gone from strength to strength, with cycle hire in the capital now more popular than ever. These new e-bikes will help to break down some of the barriers to cycling and make it even easier to travel sustainably. Santander Cycles has played an important role in encouraging more people to cycle and we’ll continue to improve the scheme to ensure a greener and healthier future for everyone in London.”
Last year it was announced that Santander will continue to sponsor London’s flagship cycle hire scheme until May 2025. This will support TfL as it moves forward with planned investment in cycle hire, ensuring the scheme continues to grow and encourages more Londoners to get cycling.