There will be a big increase in e-bikes that can be hired from Transport for London’s cycle hire scheme this summer, and the all-day pass is being restored for people hiring bikes.

The Santander Cycles system launched with 500 e-bikes in October 2022 and now has 600 e-bikes. Transport for London (TfL) says it is adding 1,400 more e-bikes to the network this summer, which will take 2,000 e-bikes to hire across central London.

Also, the daily hire charge, which was scrapped in September 2022 in favour of a per-ride fee, is coming back. At the time, TfL said that the daily hire charge was offputting, but feedback from Santander Cycles users indicated that they wanted the day-pass restored.

Although TfL notes that registered members of the cycle hire scheme used it more in 2023 than any previous year (6.75 million hires), overall usage declined from 11.5 million in 2022 to 8.06 million in 2023, its lowest figure since 2013, possibly put off by the higher cost of a single hire.

The day pass will be restored from Sunday 3rd March.

When launched in 2010, the daily hire fee was £1, rose to £2 in 2013, and apart from being (temporarily) scrapped in 2022, the price hadn’t changed since 2013. It will now be £3 per day and offers unlimited rise of up to 30 minutes within 24 hours. Hires over 30 minutes incur an extra £1.65 for each additional 30 minutes.

People buying the day-pass can make as many 30-minute trips on a standard peddle bike as they want without being charged any extra — which is ideal for popping around town and, personally, often replaces short tube or bus trips.

If using the e-bikes, there’s a £1 charge for each 30-minute hire on top of the day pass. If you have a monthly or annual subscription, then the £1 for an hour of use remains unchanged.

Alternatively, e-bikes are available for £3.30 per 30-minute ride if you pay per ride instead of using a day pass.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m delighted that we’re adding a further 1,400 new e-bikes to the fleet, almost tripling the number available to hire. The e-bikes have proved hugely popular since they were introduced and help break down the barriers that stop some people from cycling. The new day pass rate will also make Santander bikes one of the most affordable ways to travel in the capital.

Although the day pass is rising to £3 per day, the subscription rates have been frozen at £20 per month or £120 a year, which allows customers unlimited 60-minute rides and an additional fare for e-bikes of £1. Apart from being even better value for money now, the subscription also comes with the keyfob, which I find a much more convenient way of unlocking the bikes than using the smartphone app.

Santander will continue to sponsor London’s flagship cycle hire scheme until at least May 2025.


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  1. John says:

    I can’t understand why the TfL e-bike rollout has taken so long long? Lime Bikes rolled out 10,000s of e-bikes in the time it took TfL to rollout just 500. Questions need to be asked over the cycle scheme management.

    • ianVisits says:

      Lime also raised $1.5 billion from investors to spend on its bikes and made just $4 million in profit on that investment last year, having lost money every year before that. That’s how they build out fast – take in loads of private venture money and spend it fast before they run out of investors to subsidise the service.

  2. MilesT says:

    Worth noting that the Daily fee must be pre-purchase, even if you have an account (and optional key).

    It is *NOT* a daily cap, and is thus inconsistent with other TfL charging for Oyster/Contactless (and less automatic/customer friendly)

    I think what riders really wanted is a daily cap, but the current software does not support this.

    • LatimerDoggo says:

      Yeah I was under the impression originally it was a cap, but I have just changed my subscription to the £3 rate. It’s rare I ever hire just one bike so works for me, but it was certainly a bit confusing.

  3. Status Throw says:

    In comparison to Lime, the £3 is a great deal. In my area, the only real competitor for a short trip is the free 10 mins on Human Forest. Lime getting negative press on the front page of the Evening Standard is not a good omen.

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