Santander has extended its cycle hire sponsorship deal which was due to expire next year until 2025.
Santander took over the sponsorship from Barclays in 2015, when they signed a 7-year deal, and the 3-year extension will take their sponsorship to a decade long agreement.
TfL says that it plans to expand the cycle hire network, although did not offer any hints as to which parts of London would be added. Expansion of the scheme is dependent on funding agreements being in place with boroughs and central Government. Also, operationally the scheme works best when new docking stations are built close to areas with existing docking stations to avoid isolated areas.
Away from more docking stations, TfL also said that it will be introducing 500 battery-assisted e-bikes from next summer.
A free hire option for key workers introduced during the pandemic is also to be extended, as a discount on the annual hire subscription rate.
During the pandemic, cycle hire rates soared outside the City as people stuck at home turned to cycling for exercise, and that also saw the average duration of cycle rides increase, averaging 19 minutes per ride between 2012 and 2019, and jumping noticeably to an average of 25 minutes in 2020.
Cycle hire membership registrations also nearly doubled from March 2020 to March 2021.
Saturday 30th May 2020 saw the scheme’s second-busiest day in its ten-year history, with 70,170 hires being made, which is only surpassed by 73,094 hires on the 9 July 2015, which coincided with a tube strike.
The increase in cycle lanes in London has also a contributory factor in making people more willing to hop onto a bike.
The cycle hire scheme launched in July 2010 with 350 docking stations across eight London boroughs, and a decade later, the cycle hire scheme has more than 750 docking stations and over 14,000 bikes.
One even went to Paris.