Keolis, co-owner of the Thameslink and SouthCentral rail franchises in the UK, and bus and tram networks throughout Europe and Canada, is to trial city-centre bicycle hire centres at transport nodes such as railway and bus stations. The Oxygen Stations will also offer electric bikes and Segways for hire.

French bus-and-rail operator to launch urban cycle-hire hubs

The trials will take place in France later this year. The picture above is an artist’s interpretation of what one of the hubs will look like.

"Keolis believes that the development of an inter-modal approach to transport – i.e. making the best use of the various modes of public transport available – is essential," said Mr. Olivier Marembaud, CEO of Keolis Group.

"We plan to facilitate connections [between subways, trains and buses] by developing the Station Oxygène."

"Every day, millions of cars make their way into our towns and cities where they add to local traffic, clog up major arteries, increase urban pollution and, most of all, compound traffic and parking problems.

"This means that all the component elements in our public transport systems in towns and cities, and at a regional level have to be put to work.

"In order to meet these travel needs, one of the main thrusts in efforts to modernise systems operating in the major conurbations is expansion of the range of options for combined or complementary use of the various modes of transport."

This includes park-and-ride nodes as well as storage, servicing and rental provisions for cyclists.

Keolis already operates cycle hire and maintenance hubs at Phébus in Versailles, La Roche sur Yon, amd Clermont-Ferrand but the proposed Oxygen Stations will feature charging points for electric bikes and Segways and will also offer rental electric cars.

Pilot Oxygen Stations will be trialled in Besançon and Paris by the summer.

Keolis has designed two models of Oxygen Stations: the Kiosk and the Bungalow. The Kiosk is a semi-permanent fixture, the Bungalow is a smaller station that can be easily assembled and disassembled for event use.

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