A revolutionary new scheme to provide bikes for public hire will enter the tender process this week.
Bournemouth Borough Council and Borough of Poole will partner with an operator to deliver a bike share scheme across the conurbation at no cost to the Local Authorities.
Residents and visitors will benefit from the convenience of a fleet of new bikes available for instant hire across Bournemouth and Poole. Whilst similar to the “Boris bikes” in London, the scheme will use advances in technology and be App–based, enabling customers to easily access and unlock bikes simply using a smartphone.
This removes the need for docking stations and gives far greater flexibility for users as they are not restricted to a limited number of pick up/drop off points.
The location of all bikes will be tracked by GPS so you can easily find your nearest available bike using your smartphone, which will also unlock the bike for use. When the user finishes their journey, they simply slide the lock back into place and park the bike on its side stand, with no need to secure it to a dock, railing or cycle stand.
Although there will be no formal docking stations, the App will advise users of preferred parking locations at high-demand areas such as at rail stations, shopping centres and tourist attractions. The operator will also keep track of all the bikes and will "re-balance" them as required to maximise availability.
The Bike Share scheme will be an economical option for many residents compared to the upfront price of bike ownership plus will solve problems of those living in flats with limited bike storage.
The operator will also work closely with local businesses to encourage commuters to use Bike Share and help reduce peak time congestion.
The Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset cycling strategy states our ambition is “to create a cycle-friendly environment and culture where residents and visitors of varying ages and abilities cycle regularly as the obvious choice for shorter distance journeys.”
Councillor Mike Greene, Cabinet Member for Transport, Cleansing and Waste for Bournemouth Borough Council said: “I strongly believe this is a fantastic move for Bournemouth and Poole and a significant step towards promoting sustainable transport in the conurbation. The aim is to provide a flexible and sustainable service that gives more choice to those who live, work or visit here.”
Councillor Ian Potter, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Transportation for Borough of Poole stated: “This scheme has real potential to help cut congestion by encouraging a reduction in single occupancy car trips to bike for shorter journeys- whilst improving the health and wellbeing of our residents at the same time”
The proposed date for rolling out the bike sharing is summer 2018. At this stage the preparation is about ensuring an effective and fair procurement process and seeking a suitable provider of the service.
The chosen supplier would commit to an initial one year contract with options to extend for two years on an annual basis if required. There would be no initial or ongoing cost to the Councils and the operator would be required to supply the bikes plus associated equipment as well as management and maintenance of the service.
It will be an essential requirement for any provider to be accredited with the Bikeplus scheme, which provides an agreed industry standard.