The first docking stations set to be delivered as part of the Bee Network Cycle Hire scheme have been installed at the University of Salford this week – ahead of dozens more being installed over the coming weeks.
Nine cycle hire stations housing 30 bikes have been installed across the University, where staff and students will be able to access the bikes on an invitation-only basis from 3 November.
Work to install more docking stations will continue at key locations in Manchester and Salford ahead of a public launch starting on 18 November, when more bikes will be added to the fleet.
Once the rollout of Greater Manchester’s new cycle hire scheme is complete in June 2022, there will be a total of 1,500 bikes – including 300 e-bikes – available to the public.
The 24/7 Bee Network Cycle Hire scheme, which is being rolled out in phases, will be one of the largest docked systems outside London and will give hundreds of thousands of people an affordable, convenient and quick way to get around.
Richard Nickson, TfGM’s Programme Director for Cycling and Walking, said: “It’s really exciting to see the first cycle hire docking stations installed at the University of Salford, where we will be holding a short, invitation-only phase to test the scheme before opening it up to the wider public on 18 November.
“Bee Network Cycle Hire is going to make cycling an accessible option for anyone in Greater Manchester, whether for a trip to the shops, to commute to work or to get to university.
“I’m looking forward to seeing more stations installed in the coming weeks, and will be waiting keenly for my first go on a bike on 18 November.”
Mike Brown, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the University of Salford, said: “The University of Salford is recognised for its leading research on Active Mobility; the Bee Network Cycle Hire scheme is another example of how Greater Manchester is making tangible progress to decarbonising mobility.
“The University is working with partners across Greater Manchester on the Green Recovery and tackling Climate Change, the decarbonisation of mobility will help GM achieve its net-zero target.”
Councillor Mike McCusker, Lead Member for Planning and Sustainable Development at Salford City Council, said: “It is great news that Salford is involved in this new scheme – it matches our ambitions to provide more transport options for local people which are carbon neutral.
“In the city we also have a scooter trial which has now been extended to Salford Royal and over 130,000 rides so far.
“We are pressing on with extending our cycling and walking network with ambitions to complete a further 19km of safe cycling and walking routes for residents to get around our great city over the next 12 months.”
A zone map was revealed in September that outlined where residents will be able to pick up and drop off hire bikes across the regional centre. The cycle hire network will expand outside of the regional centre from June 2022 onwards.
The scheme will be operated on a day-by-day basis by experienced bike-share company Beryl, which already works with other cities and regions across the UK. The bikes will be hired using Beryl’s mobile app. Cyclists can then ride to their destination using them as they want, provided they are returned to a cycle hire station.
Once delivered, it will be one of the best value for money cycle hire schemes in the UK with pedal bikes costing 50p to unlock and 5p per minute to use, while e-bikes will cost £1 to unlock and 10p per minute to use.
The scheme is key part of Greater Manchester’s plan to provide a fully-integrated, London-style public transport system – the Bee Network– and become carbon neutral by 2038.
A public conversation on GM’s journey to the Bee Network was launched in October, and residents are encouraged to have their say on the new transport system online or by attending one of several events taking place across GM.