E-bikes are finally coming to London’s Santander Cycles bike hire scheme – almost nine years after former Mayor Boris Johnson first announced plans to trial such a scheme in hillier parts of the capital.
While dockless e-bike schemes have operated in some boroughs since Lime launched in Ealing and Brent in 2018, they have not been included in the Santander Cycles scheme until now – but that is set to change in the coming weeks.
TfL also says that it is changing tariffs under the scheme, with a £1.65 flat rate per 30 minutes replacing the current £2 access fee for standard bikes, and it will also introduce monthly membership costing £20 which will allow hirers to make unlimited rides lasting up to 60 minutes.
To begin with, e-bikes will only be available to registered users of the scheme, and will cost £3.30 for 30 minutes, plus an additional £1 to take the period up to one hour, with the bikes going live on 12 September.
TfL says that the scheme saw its busiest ever month in July, and today it has also confirmed that new docking stations will be installed in Southwark.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “I am delighted to be launching our first ever e-bikes for hire. Another first for London hot on the heels of another record-breaking month for Santander Cycles, which saw an incredible 1.3m journeys in July. It will be great to see these new e-bikes on London’s streets soon.
“I’m determined to continue building a cleaner, greener London for everyone and this includes making cycling as accessible as possible. The new Santander Cycles e-bikes will play an important role in helping to break down some of the barriers that stop people from getting on a bike, including fitness, age and length of journey.”
TfL added that to enable systems to be changed to accommodate the new features, the scheme will be closed for upgrades from 2200 on Friday 9 September and 0600 on Monday 12 September.
Meanwhile, following our report yesterday that Westminster City Council is removing dockless hire e-bikes dumped on the borough’s streets by users, the shared mobility charity CoMoUK is calling on the council to discuss solutions with operators.
The borough does not currently have partnerships with any e-bike hire schemes – the bicycles being left there are being hired in adjacent boroughs – and one solution from CoMoUK is that Westminster allows bikes to be left in geo-fenced parking areas currently available there to people renting e-scooters.
Antonia Roberts, the charity’s deputy chief executive, said: “Westminster has some of the worst air quality in the entire country, and shared e-bikes are a vital part of the solution to delivering the council’s Climate Action Plan.
“Bike share is a catalyst to re-engaging with cycling – supporting health and wellbeing, triggering sustainable travel behaviours, cutting car miles, and working alongside bike ownership”
“There is a firm willingness by operators to go to extra lengths to implement a scheme which works for all parties in Westminster, and they would welcome the opportunity to reach a solution with the council,” she added.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.