Plans unveiled to promote city cycling

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Plans to more than double the size of Glasgow’s hugely successful mass automated cycle hire (MACH) scheme have been unveiled.

The MACH scheme currently has 435 bikes based at 43 stations across the city, but Glasgow City Council is investigating a new scheme which would provide up to 900 bikes and 100 stations.

Since the scheme launched just before the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, there has been an astonishing 206,109 rentals and 14,080 registrations. This year also saw the highest ever number of rentals – 769 – on 1 June. The figure surpasses the previous record of 702 on 28 July 2014, during the Commonwealth Games.

Given the resounding success of the bike hire scheme the council is hoping to award a new and extended seven-year contract to allow the scheme to continue – and expand - from summer next year.

A report on the success and future of Glasgow’s MACH scheme was presented at the Sustainability and Environment Policy Development Committee (24 August).

When the current three-year scheme launched on 24 June 2014 it had 400 bikes available for public hire at 31 MACH stations across the city. Today it has 435 bikes available at 43 stations.

The report outlines plans to tender for and award a new longer seven year contract to deliver a cycle hire scheme which would see more than double the number of bikes available and create many more cycle stations around the city.

Bailie Elaine McDougall, Glasgow City Council’s executive member for Transport, Environment and Sustainability, said: “The people of Glasgow and surrounding areas have really embraced our cycle hire scheme, based on usage figures. The MACH bikes are being seen in use all over the city and are very popular also with commuters, students, businesses and visitors.

“We receive overwhelming feedback from users of the scheme and numerous requests for more stations.”

Bailie McDougall continued: “It’s clear there is a real appetite for the cycle hire scheme in Glasgow. We want to see the scheme continue to grow, bringing more bikes and stations to the city for people to use.

“This is yet further progress, in addition to the millions of pounds we’re investing on cycle routes across the city, in realising our ambition to make Glasgow one of the UK’s most cycling friendly cities.”

The current provider of the scheme, NextBike, operates 15,000 bikes in 80 city locations worldwide including Auckland, Baku, Dubai, Nurnberg and Zagreb. Glasgow is the biggest bike scheme in the UK outside of London and Liverpool.

The three year contract with NextBike ends next year, with the option to extend it by two further 12 month periods. EU procurement rules mean there can be no further expansion of the current scheme (i.e increase the number of bikes or stations).

The proposed locations for the additional MACH stations were selected based on factors such as where there is already high demand; the proximity to existing stations and key cycling routes and future developments.