Portsmouth introduces city-wide cycle hire scheme

In Portsmouth, a city-wide cycle hire scheme has received the green light in an effort to reduce congestion. Inspired by London’s ‘Boris Bikes’ scheme, a Barclays cycle hire project, Portsmouth and Southsea rail station and the University of Portsmouth will now install cycle hubs to enable more green travel for commuters.

Council leader, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: “It is so people can pick up a bike in one place and drop it off in another. We want to do some work with big employers so they can get stands near their businesses. It might mean that some people come to the city by train and then pick up a bike to get where they are going.”

The cycle hubs will provide secure cycle parking, lockers, bike hire and repair service, maintenance, along with advice on cycle training and safety.

Similar to London and other major cities, Portsmouth will now also offer a 20-cycle self-service dock for hire at Portsmouth Harbour. Another such hub is planned for the proposed park-and-ride at Tipner. All cycles for hire via this scheme will be Brompton foldable bikes.

It is hoped that the scheme will encourage commuters to use public transport as an alternative to fuel-guzzling cars and allow them to finish their journeys by cycle hire.

Cycle hire and cycle hub schemes have worked successfully in several British cities including Leeds, Leicester and York. Despite this huge step, cabinet member for traffic and transportation, Cllr Jason Fazackarle, feels there is still more that needs to be done to improve transport in Portsmouth.

“Portsmouth is ideal for cycling,” he said. “But we do have a real car culture and, while we know we can’t just tell people to start cycling, it’s important to encourage people to travel sustainably. This scheme is about improving the facilities for cyclists to allow them to do that.”