Edinburgh Cycle Hire has reported over 221,000 trips made between September 2019 and 2020, a growth of 119%.
The scheme has also seen average trips per day increase by 46%. This is due in part to the 75 new hire stations installed at sites across the city including Montgomery Street and Belford Road next to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One) and Dean Gallery.
Other sites included West Crosscauseway, Corstorphine Road and Craigleith Road. These are areas previously not served by a cycle scheme and is part of a strategy to create a cycling network for the city as an alternative to short car journeys.
New users to Edinburgh Cycle Hire have totalled more than 34,000, bringing the overall to 57,000 customers cycling in and around the city. Earlier in 2020, the scheme was extended into South Queensferry with start/end journeys at nearly 4,500 in the first six months and 1,500 new customers joining the scheme.
George Lowder, chief executive transport for Edinburgh, said: “What makes this performance truly outstanding is that this growth encompasses a period when the country was in lockdown, with homeworking, no festivals and few visitors in the city. The people of Edinburgh have embraced cycling and we will continue to strive to grow the scheme to meet with this increasing demand.”
Alex Macdonald, general manager, Serco, added: “We’d like to thank our customers to the moon and back for making the positive choice to cycle. Coincidently the one million kilometres our customers have ridden would take them from the moon, to earth and back again.”
A partnership has also been created with Police Scotland to support efforts to recover stolen bikes and prosecute those who choose to damage the scheme’s infrastructure.
Chief inspector Neil Wilson, Police Scotland said: “Police Scotland, Edinburgh City Division has been working in close partnership with the Edinburgh Cycle Hire Scheme (ECHS) to address theft of their fleet and vandalism to their infrastructure. We have undertaken crime prevention surveys of hire stations throughout the city and we will support ECHS in the implementation of enhanced security measures.
“Our officers have been briefed on how to spot a stolen bike and regularly undertake targeted patrolling, which has resulted in numerous apprehensions and prosecutions. We will continue to develop our approach in partnership with ECHS and would encourage the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity involving the cycle hire network to police.”