Coventry’s hugely successful West Midlands Cycle Hire (WMCH) scheme has been expanded to cover Coventry Railway Station and the University of Warwick campus.
This sees an additional 75 bikes and nine new docking stations made available to users. Seven of these are on the university site with the remaining two outside the Visitor Information Hub at Coventry Railway Station and at Starley Gardens on Cox Street.
It means that visitors, staff and students returning after their summer breaks will not only be able to hire bikes for trips around the campus, but also use them for a longer commute to and from the city centre. There are already 23 docking stations available in Coventry.
And to mark the return to work, school, college and university after the summer break WMCH has a new region wide early morning offer available from September 6. This will see the £1 unlock fee waived for users between 6am and 11am leaving only the 5p per minute fee – meaning a ten-minute ride will now cost 50p instead of £1.50.
WMCH has been rolled out in eight locations covering town and city centres across the region since March and proved popular with over 100,000 journeys taken to date. It has been developed by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), in partnership with local councils.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “With more than 100,000 journeys taken on our bikes since the spring, it is clear our cycle hire scheme is very popular and in demand. That’s why we are now extending the scheme, with more bikes and docking stations available throughout Coventry, including on the University of Warwick campus.
“This really is brilliant news, as cycling helps improve people’s physical health whilst also encouraging more drivers to leave the car at home and tackling the climate emergency. That’s why, on top of the cycle hire scheme, we have launched our Starley Network of safe cycle routes and are investing more than £40 million in a wide range of other schemes to help encourage more people to take up cycling and walking.”
TfWM has been collaborating with the University of Warwick on the Future Transport Showcase under which a variety of environmentally friendly modes of transport are being trialled – including e-scooters, demand responsive buses and electric car clubs.
Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration at Coventry Council said: “I’m pleased that Coventry is unique in the region and leading the way with the uptake of the scheme. These extra cycle docks will make it easier for visitors, workers and students to get from the railway station to both university campuses, as well as to City of Culture events and this weekend‘s Godiva Festival in War Memorial Park.”
Parvez Islam, director of transport and future mobility at the University of Warwick said “We’re proud to be working with TfWM and other partners on a range of important transport initiatives on our campus, and the WMCA cycle hire scheme is a welcome addition.
“Staff and students living in Coventry, including areas such as Canley and Earlsdon, can now rent a bike and cycle to campus in less than half an hour, meaning they can be more sustainable by leaving the car at home more often, and get active and healthier in the process.”
The scheme is run by Serco – the operator of London’s famous Santander Cycles – using bikes, docks and locks manufactured in the West Midlands. The on-street docks are being made by Universal Fabrications in Nuneaton, while the locking system is produced by Coventry based RDM Group and PHA Europe in West Bromwich.
Investment in cycling facilities is a key part of the region’s plan to provide more alternatives to the car for shorter journeys around busy towns and cities with a view to reducing congestion, improving air quality and helping the region achieve its #WM2041 net zero-carbon target.