TfL to expand Santander Cycles scheme to keep up with demand
TfL has set out plans to expand the Santander Cycles scheme to keep up with unprecedented demand. TfL data shows that cycling in the capital has increased significantly in recent weeks, with thousands of Londoners using bikes more often for both leisure and essential travel.
Last month was the best May in London’s cycle hire scheme’s 10 year history, with 1,120,620 hires. Last month also had the highest ever number of hires in a single week – with 362,925 hires made between 25 and 31 May – and the highest ever number of hires in a weekend, with 132,979 hires made on 30-31 May.
The free Santander Cycles hire scheme for NHS staff has also fuelled demand, with 30,000 free journeys made since the offer was made available in March.
TfL is working hard to keep up with the demand, starting with rolling out eight new docking stations this summer to ensure that more people can use the bikes to get to where they need to be.
Three new docking stations will be built around Clapham Common, improving access to one of southwest London’s busiest neighbourhoods and one of the area’s biggest green spaces.
Four new docking stations will be built alongside the Cycleway 4 route, which will connect Tower Bridge Road with Rotherhithe, and one at nearby Canada Water. A further six docking stations will be built by the end of the year.
The Santander Cycles hire bike hubs at Liverpool Street and Soho reopened in the spring – several months before they normally open – to meet the increased demand.
TfL is working to create more bike hubs in the coming months and plans to improve staffing at key cycle hub locations in central London longer term to ensure that more people can rely on the scheme for ‘last mile’ journeys from major rail stations.
TfL is also making 1,700 more Santander Cycle bikes available, bringing the total to more than 14,000 – an increase of nearly 15% and the largest single increase in bikes for the scheme since 2013.
As well as boosting the Santander Cycle hire scheme, TfL is working to rapidly create extra space for cycling and walking across the capital as part of the Mayor’s world-leading Streetspace for London programme.
Temporary changes are being made to roads to support safe walking and cycling and enable social distancing.
A number of changes, including a new cycle lane on Park Lane, extra pavement space at 17 high streets across the capital and changes to residential roads are already in place and TfL is working closely with boroughs across London to quickly deliver much more.
TfL is working hard to return Tube and bus services to normal levels as soon as possible, but even once 100% of services are being operated, the number of people TfL will be able to safely carry will still be constrained to around 13-15% of normal whilst the recommendation of 2m social distancing remains. This means walking and cycling will be central to London’s recovery.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘I’m determined that our city’s recovery from coronavirus will be clean, green and sustainable and enabling more Londoners to cycle is absolutely central to this.
‘I’m delighted by the unprecedented demand for cycling over the past few months. We’ve seen three times the number of people cycling in some parts of our city compared to before the crisis, huge demand for our free cycle hire scheme for NHS staff and carers, and multiple Santander Cycles records being broken.
‘By adding new docking stations, cycle hire hubs and bikes we are making it even more convenient to take to two wheels.
‘I am proud that our Streetspace for London plans are making it safer and easier to cycle in our city, and freeing up space on public transport for people who have no alternative.’
David Eddington, TfL’s Head of Cycle Hire, said: ‘London is facing a significant transport challenge and more people will now need to walk and cycle to ensure that there is enough space on public transport for people who need to use it.
‘It’s fantastic to see more people than ever using our record-breaking Santander Cycles scheme, which is a brilliant way to start cycling for people who don’t have their own bike.
‘We’re doing everything we can to support the scheme during this period of growth and our tenth year of Cycle Hire. Our new bikes and docking stations will make cycling even easier and more convenient.’
Dan Sherwood, Marketing Director at Santander UK, said: ‘Breaking records with the best May in London’s cycle hire scheme’s 10 year history with over a million hires is incredible, but we’re even more delighted that so many critical and key workers have benefitted from the free cycle hire scheme during this challenging time.
‘We hope expansion plans will ensure more local communities than ever can benefit from such a great scheme.’