Cycle hire operator named

Liverpool City Council has chosen UK operator HourBike to run its new cycle hire scheme, due to launch in April.

HourBike beat European and other UK rivals to win the contract through competitive tender.

The launch phase will see 100 bikes at 10 city centre stations. By July, there will be 500 bikes at 50 stations; and by March 2015 there are expected to be 1,000 bikes at more than 100 stations.

Based in Surrey, HourBike launched its Cycle Hire Service in 2007 and is currently running or installing systems in Dumfries, Lincoln, Nottingham, Reading and Southport. The company also acted as consultants on Moscow's large cycle hire scheme.

Liverpool's self-service cycle hire operation will run seven-days-a-week, with cyclists able to register immediately by phoning through their card details, members then get the first half-hour of every hire free of charge.

The charge schedule has yet to be confirmed but is expected to include three tiers; annual, corporate and occasional use, with the latter priced around £4/day.

The funding for the Liverpool City Cycle scheme comes from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, allocated by the Department for Transport. Liverpool has received £2.8m from the fund, of which £1.5m is being invested in delivering the cycle hire scheme. The remainder of the funding has been committed to a number of cycling and signalling infrastructure improvements, and sustainable transport initiatives in different parts of the city.

It is expected that the cycle hire scheme will quickly expand to become a long term facility for employees, residents and visitors. Following the initial investment, the council hopes the scheme will become financially sustainable after three years.

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