04 August 2014

Northampton’s very own bike hire scheme – Cycle CoNNect – has had an encouraging start with more than 350 bike rentals in the first two weeks.

By the end of the first week there had been 152 rentals and 160 customer registrations with the town centre and Becket’s Park being the most popular hire locations.

Set up by Northamptonshire County Council and highways service provider MGWSP in partnership with Northampton Borough Council, Brackmills Estate and the University of Northampton, the £150k initiative will provide 50 bikes for public hire inside the borough.

Cllr Michael Clarke, county council cabinet member for highways, transport and environment, said: “This is a tremendous start for this very exciting project and I’m delighted that so many people have been able to use these wonderful bikes to cycle around Northampton.

“No doubt the glorious summer weather we’ve been enjoying has helped encourage people to take part in the scheme but I’m confident that once people get a taste for how easy and convenient Cycle CoNNect is they will continue to use it.”

What journeys are people making?

So far there have been 362 rentals with some patterns in bicycle circulation becoming apparent and some regular customers taking advantage of the bikes, with the top two renters each hiring bikes 13 times.

The most common journey is from Becket’s Park to Becket’s Park, followed by Midsummer Meadow back to Midsummer Meadow.

Wednesdays and Sundays are the most popular rental days with the average rental time ranging from just under 30 minutes on Mondays to more than two hours on Sundays.

Initially six hubs are available with the remaining four to open in the autumn.

Hire costs £1 up to one hour, then £1 for each additional hour up to a maximum of £5 per day. However initially, as a promotional offer, the first 30 minutes of each journey will be free of charge.

Registration is free, though on registration, users will have to add an initial £3 of credit to their account, which will remain in place until they use it for rentals.

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.

Where are the hire hubs?

The six hubs that will be available from next week are in Mercer’s Row, Becket’s Park and Midsummer Meadow and in Gowerton Road, Salthouse Road and Pavilion Drive on the Brackmills industrial estate.

In the autumn hubs will be available at Northampton railway station (two hubs) and the University of Northampton (Avenue campus and Park campus).