The Royal Town will be the first place to roll out 75 of the new cycles for hire, which will be run by the same operator as London’s famous ‘Boris Bikes’, Serco.
I can’t think of a better place to launch the West Midland’s very own bike share scheme than Sutton, with the backing of Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council.
As a place with great transport connections and the region’s biggest park, Sutton will provide the perfect testbed for a scheme which will spread across the whole region.
The scheme is being set up with £5 million from Transport for the Werst Midlands’ (TfWM) Transforming Cities Fund with ongoing costs covered by rental income and commercial sponsorship. The Town Council is contributing £61,000 towards the running costs of the Sutton Coldfield scheme.
Cllr Simon Ward, leader of Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council, said: “We are delighted to be at the forefront of this scheme in partnership with TfWM, the city council and Serco to bring cycle hire to Sutton Coldfield.
“It is great news for our Royal Town to be one of the first places in the region to launch this cycle hire scheme and it enables the Town Council to deliver on its priorities of improving cycling infrastructure, promoting active travel and healthy lifestyles.”
Up to eight docking stations are to be installed in key locations around the town centre including the edge of Sutton Park.
During lockdown, we have seen a huge increase in people cycling around our region. So, it is the right time to be starting a cycle hire scheme and I am delighted that Serco’s cycle hire business, who have a great track record running cycle hire in London and Edinburgh are working with us here in the West Midlands.
What’s more the scheme is truly made in the West Midlands with the bikes, locks and docks all produced here, further supporting local businesses and jobs.
We are putting unprecedented investment in our cycling and walking infrastructure, including the Starley Network of safe cycle routes launched during the summer, because it is a great alternative to the car for shorter journeys, good for the environment, good for our health and great fun.
Contractor Serco will initially provide 1,500 bikes for hire, of which 10% will be e-bikes. The pedal cycles will all have three gears to cope with the hilly parts of the region and fitted with high-quality laser safety lights that project an image of a bicycle five meters in front of the bike.
The scheme is a success story for regional manufacturing, with almost all parts being made here in the West Midlands. The bikes are manufactured in Stratford-upon-Avon by Pashley Cycles, who also work with Serco to provide the bikes for London and Edinburgh.