An updated version of this article was published in August 2020 and can be found here.
Glasgow is encouraging everyone to consider cycling for everyday journeys as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are eased, with an offer of free cycle hire through our nextbike scheme.
From today, the first 30 minutes of standard nextbike cycle hire will be at no cost to the hirer. For casual users of the scheme, every rental under 30 minutes duration will be free of charge, and for existing subscribers this will be 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.
Available until 24 August 2020, this free hire offer is funded by Transport Scotland through the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme.
Glasgow's hugely popular cycle hire scheme was launched in 2014, with nextbike currently making available for hire, 800 bikes across 79 city locations. This level of provision and the 30 minutes free offer, in addition to the creation of temporary pop-up cycle lanes as part of our Spaces for People programme; combine to immediately increase the attractiveness of this mode of transport, especially to those who haven't previously considered cycling for everyday journeys, or don't own a cycle.
Glasgow's vision is to create a vibrant cycling city where cycling is accessible, safe and available to all. Cycling reduces congestion in busy areas and is a greener, healthier way to move around, as well as offering the space and freedom to practice safe physical distancing.
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, 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."
Krysia Solheim, nextbike MD, said: "Giving everyone a free 30-minute cycle - as we have done in our projects in Stirling and Milton Keynes - will open the joy of cycling to more and more people who will soon see why two wheels is always better than four."
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: "I'm pleased we can offer free access to bikes in Glasgow and Edinburgh through our support of the Smarter Choices Smarter Places programme. We've seen increased rates of cycling and increased use of our public hire bicycle schemes across the lockdown period and this offer will help maintain this shift in travel behaviour at a critical time in our COVID-19 response. By offering free 30 minute trips, in conjunction with temporary infrastructure in Glasgow and Edinburgh, we can greatly incentivise more sustainable everyday journeys in Phases 2 and 3 of the Scottish Government route map. "For people in our two biggest cities, this initiative will benefit our health, our environment and will help to manage demand on our public transport network."