'˜Boris Bike' scheme for Portsmouth to move forward

A '˜BORIS bike' scheme for Portsmouth has moved a step closer.

Thursday, 9th November 2017, 4:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 5:23 am

Portsmouth City Council is to formally begin the process of securing an operator to bring in a shareable bike scheme for the city.

As previously revealed by The News, Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt launched a campaign to drum up support for the initiative after speaking to foreign secretary Boris Johnson – who pioneered a similar scheme in London in 2010.

The city council has been considering offers from a variety of public bicycle hire operators and the city’s transport boss says the process will begin later this month to secure a scheme for next spring.

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Councillor Simon Bosher said: ‘We are starting to talk to operators about the scheme. There has been a lot of interest in the city from these operators, who are very keen on starting a cycle hire scheme in Portsmouth.’

Cllr Bosher is expected to be presented with a report on the formal process of beginning the scheme at his cabinet meeting on November 23.

If the report is approved, Cllr Bosher estimated that the council could look to tie up a deal with an operator to begin a pilot scheme next March or April.

He added: ‘We are very keen to have a scheme up and running by next spring. It would not make sense to launch one during the winter. Having it in place by March or April should allow for better weather and a higher pick-up rate.’

The council are aiming for the scheme to be launched as a free trial on a initial basis, so deficiencies would be ironed out before a longer contract would be awarded.

Cycling schemes are being looked at more as an alternative scheme for transport across the UK, with Beijing-based Ofo launching a 50p-per-half hour scheme in Oxford and Cambridge earlier this year.

The council would apply to the Department for Transport to seek funds for infrastructure such as cycling hubs to be built in 
Guildhall Square and Clarence Pier in the event that a scheme is picked to roll out on a longer basis.