Transport for London will relaunch its bike-sharing scheme next month to include e-bikes – but will raise fees for some users to meet rising costs.
The traditional initiative, which was used a record 1.3 million times last month, will be expanded to include 500 electric bicycles from September 12th.
Users can dock the e-bikes at any of the 800 existing docking stations in central London.
The e-bikes cost £3.30 for 30 minutes – double the new £1.65 rate for a regular bike hire in Santander, which is now the price of a bus ticket.
TfL said the launch of e-bikes was a sign of the scheme’s growing popularity and financial sustainability. Usage has surged since the pandemic, with more than 1 million people renting bikes in the capital in 2021, the first time that figure has been reached.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said building a greener city means making cycling as accessible as possible. He said the new bikes would “play an important role in breaking down some of the barriers that keep people from getting on a bike, including fitness, age and travel duration.”
David Eddington, Head of Bike Hire at TfL, said the scheme is an essential part of London’s transport system, adding: “The new bikes, alongside our simpler new tariff, will ensure the scheme can build on this success and be financially sustainable. “
A number of commercial operators led by Lime are offering e-bike rentals in the capital without the docks and broader infrastructure of the TfL scheme. Some, like Dott and Human Forest, are restricted to certain counties.
The price of ordinary Santander bike hire will rise for some users, although a one-off 30-minute ride will be reduced to £1.65, in the first major overhaul of fees in almost a decade.
TfL said it is simplifying the system in response to customer feedback. The £2 daily access charge will be removed, but a charge will be made for each journey.
However, it will introduce a new £20 monthly membership option for unlimited 60-minute rides, while an annual membership will rise to £120.
Only registered users can hire e-bikes, with members paying an extra £1 for 60 minutes.