Transport for London (TfL) is opening up the tender for London's bike hire scheme, when the current contract ends in 2017, part of which will include designing the next generation of bikes.
Whoever takes over the contract from Serco will manage everyday running of the bikes, including their maintenance, repair, redistribution and retrieval when abandoned, until 2027.
Another key part of the job will involve the design, build, testing and commissioning of the next generation bikes, and eventually supplying them across London.
Peter Blake, Director of Service Operations (Surface Transport) at TfL, said: “London’s Cycle Hire scheme has been a huge success with nearly 43 million journeys made in five years. The current service contract expires in July 2017, and we are already exploring ways to make Santander Cycles even better.
"This may include improvements to the bikes as they are replaced over time, and that is why we are looking for a contractor who shares our ambitions for the scheme.”
The current supplier for London's 10,000 hire bikes is Cycles Devinci, a Canadian company which also supplies hire bikes in Montreal and Toronto. The sturdy bikes weigh 23kg and have three gears and a small basket on the front with a bungee cord to hold luggage in place.
The hire bikes, formerly sponsored by Barclays, were introduced to London in 2012, and went red in February under their new sponsor's - Santander - logo. Santander pays £6.25m per year for the rights, with an additional £1m per year to promote and grow the scheme.
One option for expansion is into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London, home of the Lee Valley Velodrome, while many would like to see the scheme extend further into South London.