The first bikes for the new West Midlands Cycle Hire scheme are on the streets following the launch of a trial in Sutton Coldfield.
The limited trial will feature five docking stations and 25 bikes placed in and around the town centre for the next month to allow a group of selected volunteers to road test the bikes, docks, locks and mobile app technology.
The scheme has been launched by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) to encourage more people to become active and healthy and offer a convenient and more environmentally-friendly alternative to the car for shorter journeys.
That will also help support WM2041 – A Programme for Implementing an Environmental Recovery, which aims to see the region become net zero carbon within the next 20 years.
From Monday, March 8 the distinctive grey and green West Midlands Cycle Hire bikes will be available to the public in Sutton Coldfield before being rolled out in Solihull as well as Coventry, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Stourbridge, West Bromwich, and Walsall by the end of July.
Customers will hire the bikes via an app and they will cost £1 to unlock and 5p per minute after that. This means a 20 minute cycle will cost £2 and an hour £4.
The scheme is run by Serco, operator of London’s Santander Cycles, under a five-year contract from TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
The bikes are made by Pashley’s in Stratford-on-Avon and the docking stations and locks are also manufactured in the West Midlands.
When fully rolled-out later this year there will be 170 fixed docking stations and 1,500 bikes for hire, of which 150 will be powered e-bikes. There is an option to increase this as demand grows.
The bikes have three gears and are fitted with lights.