Boris Johnson put the current Brexit shenanigans to one side (at least temporarily) as he called for greater collaboration between bike share schemes at the official launch of Santander Cycles Brunel, delivered by nextbike.
The bright-red bikes will shortly be a regular feature of Uxbridge and Hillingdon life after the area launched its first 50-strong cycle-hire scheme at Brunel University. Speaking at the event, Boris Johnson said it was marvellous to see the scheme launch at the university where he was given an honorary degree.
“It’s great to see bike share launching in the outer reaches of London – that was always my ambition when I launched the TfL scheme. The challenge now is to ensure that we have interoperability between the schemes so they can work side by side, and people can ride from central London out to Uxbridge if they wanted and could dock their bike at the other end alongside another scheme’s bikes.”
Krysia Solheim, nextbike MD, said she shared the dream. “In an ideal world, interoperability would be our ultimate goal and we’re keen to explore how this dream could be a reality. It’s not something that could be delivered overnight, but we’re keen to explore how it might work in practice.”
Santander Cycles Brunel – affectionately-dubbed ‘Brunel Bikes’ – will initially connect six docking stations across Uxbridge town centre, Brunel University London and Hillingdon Hospital, with proposals being drawn-up to extend the network to West Drayton in the future.
It’s hoped the scheme – which is open to everyone – can give locals in the London Borough of Hillingdon a convenient new means of getting about town, whilst encouraging exercise, easing traffic and reducing pollution.
The new bikes come thanks to Brunel’s winning effort in the Santander Cycles University Challenge, a national competition which tasked universities with raising funding for their own local cycle scheme.