London triples its public e-bike fleet as popularity surges

Transport for London has expanded its public e-bike share scheme from 600 to 2000, making e-bikes one of the easiest ways to get around town.

Like the commercial e-bikes for hire on the streets of Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast, London’s e-bikes are available for anyone to hire for journeys across the city.

The 2000 bikes are available at docking stations around London, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Transport for London says more than 750,000 e-bike trips have been taken since it offered the scheme in 2022.

The move is part of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s vision of “making active travel around the city as accessible as possible". 

The expansion of the public e-bike fleet will be complemented by a new pricing structure, which will make it cheaper to use the scheme.

Transport for London is introducing a new £3 ($5.80) day pass that allows for unlimited journeys of 30 minutes or less all day. Longer trips will cost users an additional £1 (A$1.90) per half hour.

E-bike users in Australia pay $1 to unlock a bike and up to 54 cents a minute, costing around $17 for a 30-minute journey.

London's initiative also comes in the midst of a bike boom in the city, where the number of trips completed by bike is increasing substantially.

“The e-bikes have proved hugely popular since they were introduced and help break down the barriers that stop some people from cycling,” says Khan. “The new day pass rate will also make Santander bikes one of the most affordable ways to travel in the capital.”

Transport for London has attributed this uptick in bike riding to the continued investment in infrastructure.

The city’s strategic cycle network has expanded from 90km in 2016 to 352km  today. Meanwhile, the proportion of Londoners living within 400 metres of the network has ballooned from an estimated 5% in 2016 to almost 25%.

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