With elections coming up in London in 2012, no doubt Boris will be flaunting the success of the cycle hire scheme. However, perhaps there’s an alternative take on cycle hire as a solution to congestion problems in modern cities.
Instead of the heavy bikes that epitomise cycle hire schemes, this alternative idea relies on folding bikes. Now that you’ve read the words folding bikes, there’s no doubt you will be able to guess the next sentence. The scheme is being championed by the makers of the Brompton folding bikes.
It’s called the Brompton Dock. Currently, the pilot scheme has started at Guildford train station in a partnership with South West trains. Using a membership smartcard the commuter can then undock a folding bike and take it on the train with them.
Membership costs £50 per year and the hire costs £4 per day, £2 per day if you hire for more than a week or £1.60 a day for a monthly hire. Bikes can be hired 24 hours a day.
Expansion is in the works as Brompton are seeking to bring the scheme to other areas.
The scheme is similar in style to the Streetcars scheme. Where cars can be hired from various locations, eliminating the hassle of car ownership. Whilst 40 bikes is obviously a very limited trial size, it’s exciting to see where this will expand to next.