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Are Micro-Mobility Hire Schemes the Future?

3 min

With bike and scooter hire schemes becoming more accessible in UK cities every year since 2010, Quadrant Transport looks at what Greater Manchester’s new cycle hire scheme has achieved since its launch.

Representatives from Salford City Council, the University of Salford, and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) took a trip to MediaCity yesterday (09/02/22) to mark three months since Greater Manchester‘s new cycle hire scheme launched in Salford.

The visit saw Councillor Mike McCusker, Lead Member for Planning and Sustainable Development and Councillor Jake Rowland joined by Bec Bennett, Head of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Salford and Richard Nickson, TfGM’s Programme Director for Cycling and Walking to inspect the bikes and find out how the hire scheme has been progressing.

Currently in its trial stage, once fully launched there will be more than 200 stations, 1,200 pedal bikes and 300 e-bikes across Manchester, Salford, and Trafford.

Over 1,560 rides have started in Salford since November, making up 10% of all rides registered on the scheme

Councillor Mike McCusker told Quadrant Transport: “It’s good to see Salford people enthusiastically taking up the bike hire scheme and I expect as the weather improves, we will see more and more people using the bikes. They are a great way to get around for short journeys.”

Staff and students at the University of Salford were given exclusive access to 30 bikes in early November, as part of the initial trial phase. The scheme then launched to the public on 18 November, with more stations and bikes available along the Oxford Road corridor.

Bec Bennett, Head of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Salford, said: “It’s been great to have early access to the Bee Network Cycle Hire scheme at the University of Salford.

The scheme adds a valuable option for sustainable travel for our students and staff; something we are keen to enable as part of the drive towards our, and the GM, net-zero target.

Bikes have been available at MediaCity since early December when two stations were installed and the MediaCity Metrolink station is already amongst the top 10 most popular stations for journeys ending across the whole network.

Bikes are now available from stations along the Oxford Road corridor, at the University of Salford and at MediaCity, making cycling a real option for commuters, cross-city travellers and students.

A total of 26,776 miles have been ridden on the bikes over 16,725 journeys – enough to circumnavigate the entire globe

The use of the bikes will be closely monitored, and learning will be fed in as the scheme rolls out throughout Summer 2022, when the scheme will also expand into Trafford.

Richard Nickson, Programme Director for Cycling and Walking at TfGM, told Quadrant Transport: “We’re really pleased with how the cycle hire scheme has been received so far across Salford and Manchester. People are certainly putting the miles in on the bikes, which is great to see, and particularly exciting as the scheme continues to roll out in the summer.”

To hire a bike all people need to do is download the Beryl app, provide a few details, locate a bike, unlock it and start riding. Users can then ride a bike which must be returned to any of the available stations. Additional charges will be applied if the bike is not returned to a cycle hire station at the end of the journey.

Phil Ellis, Beryl CEO, told Quadrant Transport: “I’m delighted that, so far, the scheme in Salford has been well received and is demonstrating the value of shared micro-mobility as part of a well-connected, multi-modal urban transport network.

“The combination of the accessibility of micro-mobility modes and the spatial reach of high-speed modes creates comfortable and direct access to employment, retail, educational and leisure opportunities.”