Reading looks set to be the latest place in the UK to launch a bike-hire scheme similar to that set up with great fanfare in London last year, which in turn drew inspiration from the successful Vélib bike-hire initiative in Paris. If final approval is given the Conservative/Liberal Democrat council plan to install 1,000 bicycles in up to 150 docking sites located across the city, at Reading station, the university and at local business parks; hopefully generating somewhere in the region of 10,000 additional cycle-based journeys per day. Councillor Richard Willis, who oversees council transport and planning, said to date the response had been “very supportive”.
Reading already runs a small-scale hire scheme (operated by OYBike) which was launched in 2008, but the new initiative will see it become the largest operation of its kind outside of the capital.
The London scheme was initially met with typical British scepticism, but has proven an unqualified success with both the bikes and docking stations vying for iconic design status to match the London taxi or red bus. Close to 100,000 people have signed up to make use of the service with Mayor Boris Johnson commenting that the success has: “gladdened my heart”. Which is nice…
Consultation in Reading continues on March 14.