London’s Santander Cycles scheme has broken several records in recent weeks, with 1.12m hires in May
Free hire scheme for NHS staff and carers has been used for 30,000 journeys
14 new docking stations and more than 1,700 new bikes will help keep up with high demand
Supporting the Mayor’s world-leading Streetspace for London programme, which will be the biggest ever rapid transformation of the capital’s streets
Transport for London (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 per cent and the largest single increase in bikes for the scheme since 2013.
TfL Image – Social distancing stencils have been added to docking stations
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 per cent of services are being operated, the number of people TfL will be able to safely carry will still be constrained to around 13-15 per cent 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.”
TfL Image – New Pashley bikes are being added to the scheme
TfL has taken a number of measures to clean the scheme and an anti-viral fluid is being used on docking stations and bikes, including docking stations near hospitals. All touchpoints are regularly cleaned, including the screen, payment device and docking point numbers. To minimise contact with docking stations, people can also use the free Santander Cycles app to hire bikes.
To support vital hospital staff getting into work, NHS workers will continue to be given a code that waives the 24-hour access fee for Santander Cycles, meaning any journey under 30 minutes is free. Care workers and the police can also use the Santander Cycle hire bikes free of charge.
TfL Press Office
Transport for London
0343 222 4141
Notes to editors
New docking stations will be installed at the following locations this summer:
Tower Wharf, Southwark
George Row, Southwark
Bermondsey Station, Southwark
Rotherhithe Roundabout, Southwark
Canada Water Station, Southwark
Gauden Road, Clapham
Victoria Rise, Clapham
New docking stations will be installed at the following locations by the end of the year:
Metropolitan, Westbourne Park
Clifford St, Mayfair
London Bridge Station
London St, Paddington
Gascoyne Road, Victoria Park
Temple Gardens, Victoria Embankment
More details on TfL’s Streetspace for London scheme can be found on the TfL website at https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/improvements-and-projects/streetspace-for-london
The new Santander bikes will be built by British manufacturer Pashley Cycles. This model first joined the scheme in 2017 and offers riders improved handling, safety and comfort, with a gel saddle, lower frame, tyres with puncture prevention, new gear hub and improved front and rear Beryl lighting. The new bikes also have GPS tracking capability, which will make it easier to locate lost and stolen bikes. 2,289 Pashley bikes were rolled out from October 2017 and the 1,700 new bikes of the same model will add to that number
Santander Cycles covers 100 square kilometres of London, making it one of the largest cycle hire schemes in Europe
Since launching in July 2010, more than 90 million journeys have been made
More than 1.7 million hires were made using the Santander Cycles app in 2019. The free app is available on the iTunes and Android App Stores, search for Santander Cycles
Santander Cycles can be hired from as little as £2 a day for an unlimited number of 30 minute journeys