Spring in Northampton will bring with it a new way of travelling around the town centre and beyond with the launch of the town’s first phase of a ‘Boris bikes-style’ bicycle hire scheme.
The £150k scheme is initially providing 50 bikes for public hire for leisure rides, commuter journeys, shopping trips and student travel from 10 docking sites inside and outside the borough.
The bicycles are fully-adjustable for size and comfort, and designed for casual and more experienced cyclists. The hire system is entirely automatic and the bicycles will be available to hire at any time of the day, seven days a week.
Who's running the scheme?
Northamptonshire County Council, in partnership with Northampton Borough Council, can announce that Hourbike Ltd. was the winning bidder for the contract to assisting in the provision and delivery of the scheme.
Provision has been made in the contract with Hourbike to expand the scheme to further locations within the town, depending on the success of the scheme and revenue income from the hire process.
The company has experience of operating similar schemes in the UK, including in Dumfries, Nottingham, Lincoln and Southport. Hourbike also provided key assistance to Moscow’s bike hire scheme, which achieved 10,000 rentals in its first month.
How will it work?
Highlights of the scheme include:
- 50 bikes across 10 docking locations, including the town centre, Beckets Park, the University of Northampton Park and Avenue campuses and Brackmills Industrial Estate.
- Low-cost and easy to use hire system
- A unique website for registration and for members to top-up and manage their accounts
- Pre-payment for use of bikes, similar to a pay as you go mobile phone
Cllr Michael Clarke, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “This scheme is tremendous news for the town for a whole variety of reasons.
“Cycling is becoming increasingly popular as a mode of transport and we’re gradually improving the dedicated cycling infrastructure as funding allows.
“Not only is cycling beneficial in terms of health improvements but by getting more people cycling it helps reduce traffic congestion and associated air pollution.”
Cllr David Mackintosh, Leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “With cycle-hire proving to be popular in other areas of the country, we look forward to welcoming this scheme to Northampton for locals and visitors to enjoy.
“The scheme will be a great benefit to the town, attracting more people and encouraging them to get active. We hope that everyone will take advantage of this great facility.”
The County Council is offering all residents of Northamptonshire the opportunity to come up with the official name for the bicycle hire scheme.
The competition prize is an iPad mini and a VIP invitation to the official launch event in May.
The name of the scheme will ideally be one-word long, and essentially catchy and memorable, giving a positive message and if possible a local connotation.
To enter your suggestion, please use one of the following:
Like us at www.facebook.com/CycleNorthants and comment on our page
Follow @CycleNorthants and tweet us your entry
The competition closes on Wednesday 19th February 2014 and the winning entry will be judged by the Leaders of the County and Borough Councils.