- October 23, 2017
Brighton & Hove’s new bike share scheme, BTN BikeShare, has been active for just over a month now, providing a healthy, cheap, and fun transport option for the city. Unsurprisingly, BTN BikeShare has been very popular: over the scheme’s first 30 days it saw over 9,000 registrations and an average of 800 journeys a day. In fact, it has been so popular that plans have been announced to expand the scheme’s boundaries to further reaches of the city and surrounding areas.
BTN BikeShare is made up of 450 ‘Life Bikes’, nicknamed as such due to the logo of the scheme’s lead sponsor, Life Natural Spring Water, which sits proudly upon the front of their baskets. The technology for the scheme was provided by US pioneer Social Bicycles (‘SoBi’), and represents a UK first. Specifically, Life Bikes combine docking stations and dockless technology – i.e. they can be locked at both designated docking stations and any other bike friendly area for a small fee. If feeling particularly adventurous, users can even take the bikes out of the scheme’s boundaries; although, they will be charged an ‘out-of-area’ fee if they lock the bike there.
Currently, there are 50 docking stations installed across the city, lining the seafront from Hove Lawns to Brighton Marina and stretching as far inland as the university campuses. Once registered, customers can use the SoBi app to see how many Life Bikes are available at each station, as well as hold them and spot ones locked at public bike racks.
Specifically, Life Bikes combine docking stations and dockless technology
One major benefit of the scheme is its health implications. Specifically, building the scheme into a journey is an easy way to burn off some extra calories. After just one month, users had cycled 50,000 miles; that’s almost a quarter of the way to the moon, or more than twice around the world. If we assume an average pace of just 14 miles per hour, that amount of cycling equals over two million calories burned.
Another positive aspect of the scheme is that it offers a cheap alternative to other transport options in the city. Casual users can choose an ‘Easy Rider’ tariff which charges three pence a minute with a minimum spend of a pound. Cycle fanatics on the other hand can choose the ‘Annual Rider’ option which, for the small cost of £72, provides an hour of cycling a day. With the scheme’s groundbreaking technology, once users are done with their Life Bikes they can either lock them at a dock for free, or lock them away from a dock for the small cost of two pounds. Users also have the option to quickly leave their bikes to have a coffee or nip into the shops with the bikes’ hold function.
It would seem that the scheme will only go from strength to strength. Hourbike, the operating company of BTN BikeShare, have already shown that they are open to the idea of building upon it. For example, in response to popular demand, they recently extended the scheme’s boundaries to include the Rottingdean seafront. Life Bikes will now be able to be locked in this area without incurring an out-of-system charge. Additionally, talks are being had with the council so as to identify a suitable location for a permanent docking station.
With its health benefits, cost competitiveness, green credentials, and expanding scheme boundaries, BTN BikeShare is the perfect way to get around Brighton & Hove.