Reading’s new bike hire scheme, Readybike, was launched today and is ready for action.
People can begin using the distinctive purple and orange bikes located across 27 docking stations in Reading from this morning. A 28th and 29th docking station – on the south side of Reading Station and at Earley Station – will be operational later this summer.
For members, use of ReadyBike is free for half an hour at the start of every rental and then £1 a hour after that, with a maximum rental cap of £4. As well as the place to register, www.readybike.co.uk is also where members can top-up and manage their accounts – a bit like you do with a ‘pay as you’ go mobile phone account. Annual membership costs £50.
For people who do not want to be members, ReadyBike is also available for occasional or one-off use by users registering their details online. The tariff for non members is the same as that for members (£1 an hour) but they do not get the first 30 minutes of every rental free and the maximum rental charge is £7.
To rent a bike, users tap in their membership number and PIN. Once the selected bike has been chosen at the console, a light on top of the selected dock will begin to flash – that means it is ready to use. To return a bike, the user only has to insert their bike into any empty dock at any station. The dock will accept the bike and automatically close the open rental period for that user on an electronic system.
Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Transport and Planning, said:
“The launch of Reading’s own bike hire scheme is an important landmark for the Council’s long standing ambition of getting more people to consider cycling as a real option for getting around town.
“Reading’s initial cycle hire scheme will include 200 bikes at 29 docking stations located across Reading. That includes to the north and south side of the newly developed Reading Station and other key locations like Broad Street, Thames Valley Park, The University of Reading, Whitley, Green Park, and north of the Thames into Caversham. If it proves to be successful we can then look into extending the scheme further in future years.
“Along with a new shared-use pedestrian and cycle bridge over the Thames, the Council is delivering ReadyBike through its Local Sustainable Transport Fund. Reading is a tight-knit urban area where space is at a premium, so the Council needs to balance the needs of all road users. We already boast the country’s top public transport provider in Reading Buses and our ambitions for cycling are set out in the recently adopted Cycling Strategy. The launch of ReadyBike today marks another major step forward in our on-going commitment to sustainable transport in Reading.”