Four operators shortlisted for Greater Manchester’s bike hire scheme

Greater Manchester’s bike hire scheme has moved one step closer with four operators shortlisted, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has announced.

In partnership with Manchester City Council, Salford City Council and Trafford Council, the scheme is set to launch in spring 2021 with an initial 1,500 strong fleet, including e-bikes.

The search for a service provider to deliver the scheme has now entered its second phase with the opening of a formal Invitation to Tender process.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “The need for an affordable, convenient and sustainable bike hire scheme in our city-region has never been more timely. Now more than ever we need to enable people to travel safely, giving them as many options as possible – especially the third of Greater Manchester residents who don’t have access to a car.

“It will be vital to us as we Build Back Better – improving health, improving air quality and reducing congestion. There really are benefits here for everyone.”

The first phase of the scheme will provide a fleet of around 1,500 bikes in parts of Manchester, Salford and Trafford, mainly chosen because of their large resident population, high numbers of visitors, proximity to attractions and a high propensity to cycle amongst groups such as students. Plans for phase two should see the scheme expand further out of the regional centre.

Demand for cycling is on the rise in Greater Manchester with trips up 20% on the long-term average, as shown in TfGM’s Travel Diary Surveys.

“From next spring, bike hire will become a viable travel option for more than 100,000 households who will live within a five-minute walk of a docking station,” said Chris Boardman, cycling and walking commissioner for Greater Manchester. “It will enable people to travel quickly around their city-region for a variety of journeys – to go to work, to school, to the shops, to a train station – and adding e-bikes to the fleet will make the offer even more inclusive.

“The opening of the formal tender process now shows that we mean business and TfGM, alongside Manchester City Council, Salford City Council and Trafford Council, will be working around the clock to ensure we get this on the ground ready for next spring.”

In June, TfGM welcomed expressions of interest from potential providers. These providers have now been shortlisted against specific criteria and four providers have now been officially invited to submit a tender proposal for Greater Manchester’s bike hire scheme. They will be judged on how their proposal fits into Greater Manchester’s ambition for the scheme to be: accessible and affordable​, easy to use, as well as safe and secure. A commercial sponsor will also be sought to help fund the scheme.

TfGM officials have spoken with representatives from other city regions to find out how their bike hire schemes have been run, including London and Dublin.

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