THE Beryl bikes cycle share scheme has been unveiled in Christchurch.
The distinctive green bicycles hit various spots around the town today after their successful introduction in Bournemouth and Poole last year.
BCP Council is subsidising the service in the town, having made the commitment as part of its successful £79m Transforming Cities Fund bid, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
The council said a total of 275 bikes will eventually be provided from bays across the town, available through the company’s app.
BCP has described the project as an “intrinsic” part of its aims for the conurbation.
Cllr Andy Hadley, the cabinet member for transport, said demand for the scheme had “far exceeded” expectations.
A council spokesman said it was now the second largest of its kind in the country, only behind London. It agreed to subsidise the cost of rolling it out to Christchurch by providing £450,000 as part of its bid for the government’s Transforming Cities Fund.
Following its success earlier this year, the council opened a bidding process for companies willing to take on the three-and-a-half-year project, and awarded the contract to Beryl.
Company co-founder Phil Ellis said he was “delighted” with the expansion.
“This is part of building an integrated, green and sustainable transport network in the area,” he said. “This is more important than ever, so we can’t wait to get started and offer our service to those who live, work and visit Christchurch.”
Unlike the Bournemouth and Poole scheme, which is funded wholly through its income, the council will cover about half of the initial cost of extending it.
Cllr Hadley said: “The extension into Christchurch follows the highly successful bike share in Bournemouth and Poole, where demand has far exceeded expectations, as well as locals telling us they wanted to see Beryl bikes in Christchurch.”
The Beryl bikes scheme is part of a joint £100m Transforming Travel programme launched by BCP and Dorset councils – hailed as a “once in a generation” vision to persuade people to leave the car at home.
The aim is to deliver quieter neighbourhoods and healthier streets, with improvements to encourage journeys by bus, and new separated walking and protected cycleways.
Plans also include a new smart travel app, an integrated all-travel ticket, and new electric bikes for hire.
BCP Council said initial designs of the new walking links and cycleways are taking shape, and will be published online for people to comment.