BRIGHTON’s Boris Bike-style scheme will be up and running by June.

More than 400 bikes will be located at 50 docking stations across the city.

Bike sharing company Hourbike will run the £1.45 million scheme on behalf of Brighton and Hove City Council with charges ranging from £2 per journey.

A day pass will cost £8 and an annual pass, which includes 30 minutes free each day, will be £72.

The scheme is funded with £1.16 million of taxpayer cash courtesy of the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) with the council providing £290,000.

Despite the LEP funding, the majority of the start-up costs, the council will become the owners of the scheme, including the bikes and stations.

Hourbike will be responsible for operating the project, including call centres, mechanics, and vans and drivers to relocate and redistribute the bikes. It will also fund any maintenance.

It is thought five jobs will also be created.

The company’s incentive is in advertising on the bikes and revenue from users.

Hourbike will keep charges paid by cyclists up to a threshold, after which profits will be shared with the council.

It is estimated the local authority will make between £20,000 and £25,000 each year.

Hourbike, which has signed a three-year contract with the council, has also unveiled the Brighton bike as the SoBi Smartbike.

The Dutch-style bike comes with seat suspension, basket, front and rear lights and a computer tracker.

The scheme has been welcomed by groups across the city.

Simon Hughes, chairman of Brighton Mitre Cycling Club, said it would encourage users to be responsible on the roads.

He said: “It’s a nice place to cycle. The traffic doesn’t move very fast and it has some good cycle lanes, so it is great for inexperienced cyclists.

“Although people using the bikes will need to be sensible and considerate to pedestrians and other road users.”

It is hoped the scheme will also eliminate around 300,000 car journeys a year, helping reduce congestion and improve air quality.

However, there has been criticism about the proposed locations of the docking stations.

The 50 stations will be based along the seafront and up Lewes Road towards the university campuses.

However, there are no locations for much of suburban Brighton.

Tonia Janio, councillor for Hangleton and Knoll, said: “I understand that the most lucrative areas will be in the centre of the city, but it irks me that my residents, along with many others in such areas, are once again left out when the goodies are shared around.”


By Becky Reynolds from Bricycles

I’M delighted to welcome the arrival of this brand new bike share scheme to Brighton and Hove.

It will be a great new attraction and will confirm our identity as a cycling-friendly destination and a modern, vibrant, sustainable city on the sunny south coast.

In addition to people cycling regularly in the city centre, on the seafront and the Lewes Road, there will now be an opportunity for the casual rider. People will be able to pick up a bike for an occasional trip without needing to buy it and store it.

The rates charged are pretty reasonable and certainly a lot cheaper than car transport, taxis or some public transport.

The bike share scheme will bring direct benefits to many people such as day trippers arriving by train or bus, car drivers and passengers who fancy a breath of sea air, the large number of students and and many business people and residents who prefer to leave the car at home.

At the same time, people will get the health bonus from a bit of physical activity and a boost to their sense of wellbeing.

A managed bike share scheme will mean that more people can conveniently use a bike without having to provide permanent storage for the cycle and keeping it maintained and equipped.

More bike trips will mean fewer journeys by motor vehicles. That will help improve air quality, congestion and other problems resulting from the over-use of cars and vans. We say well done to this council (and the previous one) who have successfully brought this scheme about.

The contract appears to leave the financial liability with the private operator of the scheme so the council taxpayer will be protected. Today, more than 1,000 public bicycle schemes run in more than 50 countries and a lot of experience has been acquired in what works and what doesn’t.

We wish this scheme every success and hope that it can be expanded to more of the outlying areas of the city and beyond.


By city councillor Tony Janio, who represents Hangleton and Knoll

HEALTH and happiness do not come easy, but riding a bicycle regularly will certainly help.

And let’s not forget – it is an enjoyable way to assist the fight against serious diseases such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, diabetes and arthritis.

The Conservatives in Brighton and Hove started long ago the process of obtaining a Boris Bikes scheme for the city, and we are pleased that they will soon be with us.

Having said this, we do have one or two concerns.

The first is that it does not cover my ward in Hangleton and Knoll – a ward that has a National Cycle Network route running through it – nor any other suburban area.

I understand that the most lucrative areas will be in the centre of the city, but it irks me that my residents, along with many others in such areas, are once again left out when the goodies are shared around.

My other concern is with the robustness of both the company running the system and the scheme itself.

It would have been nice to have been consulted about the final bidders, but even as councillors, who are often briefed on confidential items, we were not allowed to be involved in the bidding process.

The result is that a quite small and relatively inexperienced team will be running the scheme. I wish them well, but I am concerned that any fluctuations in demand for the bikes, or unexpected increased costs, could put extra stress on the company.

An example of where this could occur is that there doesn’t appear to be a plan to return the bikes to the hill-top areas.

Why is this important? Well, if it was me, I think I would hire a bike on the top of a hill, cycle down at great speed and then, guiltily, leave it at the bottom to make the return journey by bus. If this were to occur on a large scale, and with the responsibility to return them falling on the company, this may add to the cost pressures.

I do sincerely hope it is a success and ends up in Hangleton and Knoll quite soon.