Cycling for those everyday journeys just got easier, with the news that our free cycle hire offer through the nextbike scheme will continue to be available until next spring.
Since the end of June and for an initial two month period, the first 30 minutes of standard nextbike cycle hire has been at no cost to the hirer. For casual users of the scheme, every rental under 30 minutes duration has been free of charge, and for existing subscribers, this has been extended to the first 60 minutes of any hire. There is no limit on the number of times this offer can be used by a person.
Our free cycle hire offer will be extended until March 2021 having been funded by the Scottish Government through the Paths for All, Smarter Choices Smarter Places active and sustainable travel initiative.
Glasgow's cycle hire scheme was launched in 2014, with nextbike currently making available for hire, 800 bikes across 78 city locations. This level of provision, in addition to the creation of temporary pop-up cycle lanes as part of our Spaces for People programme; combine to increase the accessibility and attractiveness of cycling for everyday journeys, particularly for those new or returning to cycling who may not own a bike.
Cycle hire is proving increasingly popular in the city, with last month's nextbike rental numbers up 12%, compared with July 2019. It is anticipated that extending the free offer for standard bike hire especially as lockdown eases, will contribute further towards an uptake in active travel.
Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction said: "This free hire initiative will help to encourage people who perhaps haven't considered cycling before to give it a try. Having thirty minutes of free travel every time right through to next spring, will let people see for themselves that it's a convenient, healthy and environmentally positive way to travel around our city centre and neighbourhoods. We've recently seen the popularity of cycling swell, and as lockdown restrictions are relaxed we're keen to maintain this mode of travel as an attractive, safe, long-term transport choice for everyday journeys."
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: "I'm pleased that Scottish Government funding can extend this welcome free cycle hire initiative across Glasgow to keep people cycling. Walking, wheeling and cycling is great for our health, protects the environment and helps us manage demand on public transport as we respond to the COVID-19 crisis. By offering 30 minutes of free travel through the nextbike service, we can continue to encourage greater numbers of cycling trips for everyday journeys - and help leave space on public transport for those that need it most. This is another innovative initiative funded through our Smarter Choices Smarter Places programme which is delivered by Paths for All. We will continue to explore opportunities to build an Active Nation by incentivising active and sustainable travel."
Ian Findlay CBE, Chief Officer at Paths for All said: "We are very pleased to be supporting this initiative through our Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme which helps local authorities across Scotland encourage more journeys by foot, bike or public transport. It's great to see that so many Glasgow residents have already taken advantage of this bike hire offer and we hope many more will in the months to come. Providing more opportunities that give people an alternative to taking the car for short journeys is not only important for the environment but also for our physical and mental wellbeing."
Krysia Solheim, nextbike UK MD, said: "It's fantastic to see that the free offer has been extended until spring 2021 and it shows a serious commitment to cycling from Glasgow. We know that motorised traffic fell to unprecedented levels during lockdown and many people turned to nextbike and cycling as a safe and healthily way to get around the city. We hope that even more people decide to take up the free ride offer and give cycling a go over the next few months to help them form healthy, sustainable new habits that will last a lifetime."