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E-bikes finally coming to London’s Santander Cycles Hire Scheme

500 e-bikes will hit the capital’s streets next month as scheme gets major overhaul including pricing

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.

> ‘Boris e-Bikes’ set to be trialled in North London

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.

> London gets its first dockless e-bike hire scheme with Lime

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.

> Westminster starts removing hire e-bikes from central London streets on safety grounds

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.

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7 comments

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RoubaixCube | 1 year ago
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Curious if the new docking system will also charge the e-bikes while they are docked. Or if the bikes have a big enough battery to hold enough charge to be used throughout most of the day before all of them get replaced by fresh bikes and the old ones taken away to a warehouse and charged overnight by the company who is tasked to maintain them (tfl???)

Unfortunately as an avid fisherman, ive seen a fair few of bikes from similar bike schemes dumped in local rivers. I assume some of these newer ones will meet the same fate.

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Rendel Harris replied to RoubaixCube | 1 year ago
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They're only closing down the system for two days and users will be able to dock the bikes at any of the 800 stations, so one assumes it will be a pickup recharge system, they can't be putting recharge points on every station in one weekend.

It's not an uncommon sight to see Santander bikes dumped, quite a few are stolen too (some of our local ne'er-do-wells ride them around and we're quite a distance from the nearest dock). AFAIK they don't have tracking, so if someone gets one pinched whilst in use they're lost until someone reports them dumped. Hopefully in order for the rechargers to find them the new electric ones will have trackers so won't suffer the same fate.

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NPlus1Bikelights replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
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They don't have tracking? I'd be amazed if they don't. Even the ones that certainly have tracking (Beryl) they ignore the trackers and won't recover bikes unless someone complains. Blame shifting and lack of resonsibility from Beryl. They are routinely left in middle of dedicated cycle lanes, blocking single track and pavements. Annoying enough for the able bodied let alone those with wheelchairs and prams. Wheeled supermarket delivery bots will also be blocked if the trial expands.

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Rendel Harris replied to NPlus1Bikelights | 1 year ago
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NPlus1BikelightsNJerseys wrote:

They don't have tracking? I'd be amazed if they don't. 

They started a small trial of GPS tracking on a few bikes in 2020 but doesn't seem to have been rolled out across the fleet yet.

https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/privacy-and-cookies/santander-cycles#on-thi...

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NPlus1Bikelights replied to RoubaixCube | 1 year ago
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I see a few unrestricted and resold yellow OFO bikes around. The weight will certainly increase fitness as a daily bike!

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steaders1 | 1 year ago
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Just don't leave one in Westminster as it will get taken away by the council

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Rendel Harris replied to steaders1 | 1 year ago
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steaders1 wrote:

Just don't leave one in Westminster as it will get taken away by the council

As I understand it (the phrasing in the story is slightly confusing) the new Santander bikes will use the existing docking network, i.e. you can only pick a bike up from a dock and if you don't return it to a dock the meter keeps running, so that shouldn't be a problem.

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