A NEW bike hire scheme could be on its way to Portsmouth as part of a crowdfunding campaign.
The University of Portsmouth is leading the appeal to bring 50 bikes and docking stations to the city.
It is competing against other universities across the country for the scheme, which is run by Santander.
With two weeks to go until the deadline, more than half of the £61,573 target needed to win has been raised.
If the appeal is successful members of the public will be able to pay for bikes via a smartphone app and collect them from docking stations.
Professor Graham Galbraith, the university’s vice-chancellor, said the scheme would bring a range of benefits to the city.
He said: ‘This exciting scheme will make Portsmouth a showcase in the south for encouraging active, environmentally-friendly travel.
‘It will also be good for the economic life of the city by boosting trade for local shops and businesses, as well as helping young people learn new skills.’
Santander will provide £100,000 to pay for the new bikes, and the docking stations would be built in the city centre, Southsea and the seafront.
The scheme aims to encourage people to use bikes for short trips, helping to reduce congestion and improve the city’s air quality.
Matt Hutnell, from Santander Universities, said: ‘Santander is committed to supporting both higher education and local communities across the UK.
‘We believe that a cycle scheme, such as this one, could bring significant local benefits to the winning institutions.
‘We saw an extremely high standard of entries from many universities, so it was quite a challenge for the judging panel to select the finalists.
‘The level of interest has indicated the enthusiasm for cycle schemes and we hope that whoever wins will be able to make a big difference to life on campus.’
If the campaign is successful bikes will be looked after by Portsmouth-based charity Motiv8.
The appeal comes after Portsmouth City Council revealed it was looking to bring a ‘Boris Bike’ scheme to the city to help boost the number of cyclists.
To pledge a donation go to crowdfunder.co.uk/uopcycles where people can find more information about the bikes.
All pledges will be refunded if Portsmouth does not win the scheme.