THE rollout of pay-as-you-ride Beryl bikes into Christchurch is expected to take place later this year.
BCP Council’s cabinet member for transport, Cllr Andy Hadley, said it would be subsidising the expansion as part of its contribution towards multi-million plans to create sustainable “corridors” linking the conurbation and its neighbouring towns, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
This will allow Beryl to introduce its bikes into Christchurch – a year after they were brought in for Bournemouth and Poole. They are ‘dockless’ which means that, unlike the so-called Boris bikes in London, they can be left on the street instead of having to be deposited at docking stations.
“There’s been good take up of the bikes so far and it’s a really key area of our wider ambitions,” Cllr Hadley said.
“There are two real issues preventing more people from using bikes to travel – the lack of decent cycleways and the lack of ownership of a bike.
“Beryl does a really good job in terms of the second part, hopefully the transforming cities fund will go some way towards the first.”
He said he was also planning to look at possibly removing summer restrictions on cycling along the promenade in Bournemouth.
South-east Dorset is one of 12 “city regions” chosen to bid for a share of the £1.2bn government transforming cities fund.
At the end of last year three options – a lower £79.3m sum, one for £98.4m and the highest being £115.7m – were put forward by the BCP Council-led team overseeing the work.
These bids include funding for improved connections between Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole, Ferndown and Wareham.
An announcement on whether it has been successful is expected next month. Any grant would be topped up by about £20m of council investment.
Cllr Hadley said this sum would include funding to subsidise the rollout of Beryl bikes into Christchurch.
Beryl chief executive Phillip Ellis said the company was seeking the views of people in the town to see what effect the move might have.
“In the case of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole we currently have an agreement to provide the service in Bournemouth and Poole as indicated in the service area in the app and on our website,” he said.
“We are very open to extending the service into Christchurch and would look to work closely with the local council to do so.”
Beryl bikes – how do they work?
Beryl’s distinctive emerald green bikes are available for instant hire via the Beryl app. The app tracks the GPS location of the bike allowing users to access and unlock any Beryl bike simply using a smartphone.
The bikes have three speed gears and a step through design, with fully adjustable handlebars and seats for a wide range of riders from just under 5ft to 6ft 5in.
Users will be informed of the location of “Beryl bays”, the preferred parking locations to leave the bikes. However, the scheme is designed to be flexible and will allow users to park the bikes elsewhere, provided they are safely within the scheme area.
The bikes can be ridden anywhere in the operating zone for 5p a minute. Riders have a payment choice of:
- pay-as-you-ride – £1 unlock fee
- minute bundles – no unlock fee
- 24-hour day pass – £12
To find out more go to beryl.cc/bikeshare/riders.