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From summer 2013, Liverpool would have 300 bikes available in the city centre, rising to 1,000 over the following 18 months across the entire city and outlying suburbs.
Bikes would be hired via a cash card or mobile phone at various key places dotted around, and they’d be available to hire 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The £1.5 million funding for the scheme would cover the costs of bikes, bike stations and improvements in cycling infrastructure (which is completely crucial if a scheme like this gets off the ground) within the city. The council also hopes to establish links with key tourism, sites, educational institutions and major city centre employers over the cycle hire scheme – so you could end up biking to work, the lovely Mersey wind blowing through your luscious hair, rather than travelling with screaming children and miserable commuters on the bus.
The environmental effects are obvious, and the council are keen to say that it’s a response to the increase in people living and working in the city centre – ie, there’s a tonne of traffic, gross fumes and congestion. Joe Anderson says the scheme would “reduce reliance on the car and to offer a low carbon, low cost, healthier way to get around Liverpool”.
The proposals will be looked over and considered by the city council’s Mayoral Cabinet on Friday 21 December, with an announcement expected shortly afterwards. It follows London’s successful bike hire scheme (known to some as the ‘Boris Bikes’, after that bloke who pushed them through), which launched in 2010 and has 570 stations across the city.
What do we reckon? Well, it’s a great idea. The bike scheme had some teething problems in London, but they’ve been a huge success – both financially, and in terms of popularity with punters. It could also be really crucial to open up the bits of our city that don’t have proper transport infrastructure (the Baltic Triangle, for example, could really benefit from this) and encourages people – both locals and tourists – to let loose and explore their city a little more. And we’re all for that.