Reading’s answer to London’s Boris Bikes has been hugely successful, with more than 40,000 miles travelled since they launched in June.
The ReadyBike scheme opened on June 10 and the purple and orange bikes have become a familiar scene on Reading’s roads.
There are a range of docking stations in key areas of the town, including Broad Street, Reading College and the Whiteknights Campus of the University of Reading.
In the first month of use, there were 2,198 rentals – this rose to 3,365 in July. Interestingly, more than half the rentals were for under 30 minutes, which incurs no charge at all, with an average of 54 minutes usage.
Over the course of the first two months, an incredible 40,186 miles were covered by cyclists using the scheme – there are just 200 bikes available for rental, so each bike has covered more than 200 miles.
These early ReadyBike figures are outlined in a report going to a meeting of the Council’s Transport Sub Committee on Thursday, September 11. The full report can be found here: (look for item 18).
Reading Borough Council have released more information about the scheme’s usage, which includes patterns of usage:
Whilst day tickets are currently the most popular way of using ReadyBike, more annual subscriptions are expected after the first few months when people have tried out the bikes for the first time.
Some clear journey patterns which were anticipated by the Council pre-launch are emerging. They include:
• Consistent heavy demand from Caversham to the town centre and Reading Station – both on weekdays and weekends.
• High use of ReadyBikes at the University of Reading’s Whiteknights campus, with usage expected to rise again at the start of Autumn term
• High usage in late afternoons from Reading College into the Town Centre
In addition some regular journey patterns are emerging which were not initially foreseen. They are:
• Town Centre to Thames Valley Park in late afternoon/early evening and returning to town early in the morning (indicating possible usage by night shift workers)
• Within Palmer Park – rentals are popular for people cycling around the park for leisure/exercise.
Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: “These are encouraging figures and they back up what we already know anecdotally – that ReadyBike is proving to be popular in Reading. They have very quickly become a fixture across the town.
“The scheme was launched in June and since then we have been blessed – for the most part – with good weather. It would probably be fair to expect the figures to fall as the winter weather kicks in, but in terms of the early popularity of the Council scheme this is a positive start.
“Apart from the high number of rentals, I’m encouraged to see that more than half the rentals in July were for under 30 minutes. When you consider that – for members – the first half hour of every journey is free, that proves to be extremely good value. For members, the more you use a ReadyBike, the better value your one-off membership payment becomes.”
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.