‘Bee Bikes’ fitted with tap-in technology will be rolled out across Greater Manchester from November 2021.
A local cycle hire system – where e-bikes can be booked and accessed via an app – is being introduced later this year, as plans for the city-region’s Bee Network push ahead.
1,500 bikes will appear at 200 docking stations across Manchester, Trafford and Salford during the first phase of the roll-out, before being introduced across further boroughs.
Transport Commissioner Chris Boardman said that over 100,000 local households will live within a 5-minute walk of a Bee Bike docking station.
Beryl has been selected by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) as the delivery partner to design, deliver and operate the cycle hire scheme.
Demand for cycling is on the rise in Greater Manchester with trips up 20% on the long-term average, according to TfGM. Research also showed that just 16% of people living in flats have access to a bike.
Bee Bikes will form part of Greater Manchester’s wider Bee Network – a 10-year, £1.5 billion plan to create 1,800 miles of walking/cycling routes in the city-region.
A Clean Air Plan has been announced this week – which aims to launch a “green revolution” across all ten boroughs backed by over £120 million in funding.
Money will be used to help local businesses upgrade to cleaner vehicles that meet the compliance requirements of an upcoming Clean Air Zone – which will stretch right across the region.
Under new plans, vehicles including vans, buses, coaches, taxis, private-hire vehicles and lorries will need to meet emission standards or risk a charge. HGVs, buses and coaches must pay £60 a day to drive within the zone. Vans will have to pay £10 and taxis and private hire vehicles and must fork out £7.50. Failure to do so may result in a £120 fine.
Charges for larger vehicles travelling through the Clean Air Zone may be enforced by next May, whilst car drivers will be affected from May 2023.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “The fact is that air pollution is not a problem that is going to go away on its own.
He added: “Our Clean Air Zone is only one piece of the jigsaw. We’re also fully integrating our public transport system – the Bee Network – and building the UK’s largest cycling and walking network.
“Our cycle hire will be one of the largest docked systems outside London and I cannot wait to use the new bikes myself as a way to get from A to B.
“We’re making huge strides towards our plans to build back greener and be carbon neutral by 2038.”
Transport Commissioner Boardman added: “Today is a major milestone for the city-region – not only do we have a solid plan to make vehicles on our roads cleaner, we’ll soon be bringing cycle hire to our streets – providing a healthy, convenient, non-polluting transport option for tens of thousands of people.
“Together with our plans for hundreds of miles of cycling and walking routes by 2024, we are building a truly world-leading sustainable transport system.”
Featured image: TfGM