OXFORD’S “Boris bike” scheme is getting back in the saddle.

Oxfordshire County Council will relaunch its cycle hire scheme tomorrow after the company which previously ran it went into liquidation.

A new operator – Surrey-based HourBike – has signed a contract with the council to run the Oxonbike scheme.

Thirty cycles will be available to hire from seven locations around Headington in a system similar to London Mayor Boris Johnson’s cycle hire scheme.

It is hoped users will leave their cars at Thornhill Park and Ride and then cycle to major employers including hospitals and university campuses.

Users register payment details online for £1. Prices are: free up to 30 minutes; £1 for 30 minutes to an hour; £2.50 for an hour to two hours; £7.50 for two to three hours; £15 for three to six hours; and £30 for six to 24 hours.

Under the old scheme cyclists had to register online for a code and pay a one-off fee of £1. They then used their code to release a key from the handle bar to unlock the bike. The new system uses a keypad system to unlock the bikes.

Previous operator Grand Scheme Bike Share went into liquidation last November after five months in Oxford. The new scheme was delayed until now while HourBike installed its own technology.

Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for transport David Nimmo Smith said: “I am delighted that Oxonbike will be on the road once more.

“When the scheme launched last year around 500 people signed up, so I am sure those people will be very keen to get back in the saddle.

“Commuters who use Thornhill Park and Ride and who travel in and around Headington to places like the universities and hospitals will find Oxonbike particularly useful.

“There are many reasons to consider signing up to Oxonbike, particularly as the cost of hiring bikes will remain the same with the first 30 minutes being free.

“For many people the free period is all they need to be able to get where they are going.”


Banbury Cake:

London Mayor Boris Johnson, left, takes former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger for a ride on one of his ‘Boris bikes’ during his visit to City Hall in London in March

Tim Caswell, CEO of HourBike, said: “I am delighted we have been given the opportunity to get involved in Oxford and help give commuters in the Headington area another way to get around.

“June is a good time to start cycling as the weather is in your favour and I look forward to welcoming back Oxonbike users old and new.”

The £150,000 scheme is fully funded by the Government via the Local Sustainable Transport fund to March 2015.

HourBike has committed to run the pilot scheme for 12 months.


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