The first of three state-of-the-art facilities which allow residents, rail passengers and visitors to Birmingham city centre to hire folding bicycles was unveiled to the public yesterday (Tuesday August 26).
Public transport co-ordinator Centro has teamed up with Birmingham City Council and local train operator London Midland to provide Brompton Dock facilities near each of the city centre's three railway stations.
The docks will each house 20 of Brompton's iconic folding bikes, and this afternoon the facility at Moor Street station became the first in the £140,000 project to officially open.
The scheme has been funded by £90,000 secured by London Midland through the Department for Transport's Cycle-Rail Fund with Birmingham City Council contributing the rest of the money.
Cllr Roger Horton, Centro's lead member for rail, said: “Cycling can play an important role in clearing the congestion on our roads and it is important that we keep looking for ways to make sure that it best connects with rail travel.
“With millions being invested in transport infrastructure in the city centre, these docks will be able to complement the major improvements which are being carried out right now.”
A dock will be installed along Colmore Row near Snow Hill station in the coming months with a further facility also set to arrive close to New Street station.
Users register online and after selecting which the date, location and time they wish to hire a bike will be sent a unique PIN code direct to their mobile phone which allows them to access one of the British-built cycles.
Bikes can be kept for as long as needed, with a daily charge applied to the account holder's credit or debit card.
The scheme allows the bicycles to be returned to any of the docks around the country including cities like London, Bristol and Manchester.
Cllr Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for a Green, Smart and Sustainable City at Birmingham City Council, said: “The arrival of the Brompton Docks to Birmingham underlines the importance we are now placing on cycling being a key part of the transport mix in the city.
“Through the Birmingham Mobility Action Plan, we want to make access to all types of sustainable transport as simple as possible. This development is one of the building blocks as we progress towards that goal - making easier than ever to cycle in the city centre.”
The docks are manufactured locally in Dudley and have their electronics and power systems fitted at a Birmingham based plant.
The facility at Moor Street is the first to be installed anywhere in the West Midlands and builds on the wider investment being made by Centro and Birmingham City Council in improving cycling facilities across the city.
Rentals will cost £2.50 per day for people registered as frequent users and £5.00 for those signing up as occasional users.
Ged Burgess, Partnerships Manager at London Midland, said: “This integrated cycle hire scheme provides another option for commuters in the city and complements all the other cycle infrastructure works going on across the West Midlands. This is a fantastic resource for the city and one which I'm sure will be welcomed.”
Further investment into connecting cycling and rail travel is taking place across the region with the installation of state-of-the-art cycle storage facilities at key stations.
The Cycle Hubs, which feature swipe card access for members and internal and external CCTV, have already been opened at Selly Oak and Stourbridge Junction stations with several further planned at stations including Rowley Regis and Longbridge.
Jenny Payne, Customer Service Director at Chiltern Railways said: “Cycling has grown in popularity with many passengers accessing our stations by bike.
“This initiative is a great example of how to promote a healthy and environmentally friendly way to travel around the city.”
For more information about the scheme visit: www.bromptondock.co.uk
For pictures from the launch, for media use, please visit the Birminghamnewsroom Flickr feed