Glasgow City Council is planning to expand its popular Cycle Hire Scheme by building 50 new bike stations across the city over the next seven years.
According to a report from the council’s Sustainability & Environment Policy Development Committee, a new contractor is to be sought to double the reach of the scheme which has until now been run successfully by Nextbike.
Since launching in June 2014, the scheme has had over 200,000 rentals, with nearly 15,000 people signing up to regularly use the hire bikes. Usage reached a peak on 1 June this year with 769 riders, a higher figure even than any day during the city’s hosting of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Under the expansion plan, new bike rental stations are to be built at particularly busy locations such as train and subway stations, next to the city’s universities and colleges, as well as along new cycling routes that are to be developed in the coming years.
The expansion proposal is part of a recent drive by the council to promote cycling within the city, and comes after last week’s announcement that a 3km bike-friendly route linking the south side to the city centre, dubbed the ‘South City Way’, is to be given the go-ahead.
It follows too from the Scottish Government’s stated aim of having 10 per cent of journeys made by bike by 2020.
As The Extra previously reported, the south side project beat out competition from four rival plans from across Scotland, to win £3.25 million of funding from pro-cycling charity Sustrans, a sum that is to be matched by Glasgow City Council.
There are concerns though that a much touted alternative – and critically more expensive – project which missed out on funding from Sustrans, may now fall by the wayside.
The proposed ‘Woodside Mini-Holland’ project which made headlines earlier this year, and drew inspiration from the cycle lanes which crisscross most Dutch towns, was planned to coincide with a major regeneration of the St George’s Cross and Sauchiehall Street area of the city.
This more challenging Woodside project was estimated to cost as much as £12 million, and promised to link a network of new cycle-segregated streets in this part of the city.
However, Glasgow City Council have stated that they will continue “investigating possible funding streams to help deliver this ambitious strategic project”.