Credit: Chris Arthur-Collins via Unsplash

Glasgow’s free cycle hire extended to spring 2021

By Ollie Rudden

This announcement comes as figures reveal cycling rates have spiked from last year.

Glasgow City Council has announced the free cycle hire programme has been extended to spring 2021.

Since June, Glasgow’s cycle hire service has offered people 30 minutes of free bike hire for a two month period. For casual cyclists, the scheme provides 30 minutes of free bike hire, with no limits on how many times this can be used. For subscribers of the service, this is increased to 60 minutes of free bike hires.

The offer, however, is only valid on standard bikes with e-bikes excluded. Pay-as-you-ride users who travel over 30 minutes will be charged £1 per every 30 minutes. For subscribers of the scheme, users who travel over 60 minutes will be charged 50p per every 30 minutes.

The funding of this service comes from the Scottish government through its Paths for All, Smarter Choices Active and Sustainable Travel Initiative.

In addition, the council is also creating many temporary cycle lanes as part of the Spaces for People programme, which sets out to make cycling in Glasgow more accessible and attractive to people for everyday journeys, in particular to those currently without a bike. 

This comes as Cycling Scotland, Scotland’s national cycling organisation, reported a 44% increase in cycling from July 2019. This increase also follows a 68%, 77%, and 63% increase from April, May, and June respectively in the same months from last year. 

The data was collected as part of the National Monitoring Framework, managed by Cycling Scotland and funded by Transport Scotland, which monitored cycling rates across Scotland.

The council is hoping that extending the free rentals will continue to see these numbers increase throughout the year for traveling, particularly as lockdown eases in Scotland.

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport has produced a statement to Cycling Scotland on the figures: “I’m pleased to see a higher rate of cycling in July compared to the same time last year. Through our Covid-19 response we’re working hard to keep this momentum in cycling going across the country. The Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme is a key part of this approach in addition to our green recovery efforts. At the same time, we’re also supporting access for people who don’t own a bike – and this week Glasgow City Council confirmed their public hire scheme will continue to offer free travel until spring 2021 thanks to funding from the Scottish government.

“Our package of support offers a real opportunity to keep people cycling across the winter months – helping to build an active nation and to help manage demand on our public transport network due to the pressures created by the Covid-19 outbreak.”

Glasgow has run its cycle hire scheme since 2014 and nextbike UK, the operator of the scheme, has 800 bikes for hire across 78 locations.


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