Reading cycle hire scheme 'not value for money'

A cycling campaign group has questioned whether a £1.2m cycle hire scheme similar to London's Boris bikes is proving value for money.

More than 5,500 people rented a bike in Reading in the first two months since the scheme was introduced on 10 June - some 90 journeys a day.

Adrian Lawson, of Reading Cycle Campaign, said money would have been better spent on improving cycle lanes.

Councillor Tony Page said it was a "positive start".

The first ReadyBike statistics were released ahead of Reading Borough Council's transport sub committee meeting.

ReadyBike was launched on 10 June, with 200 bikes for hire at 27 docking stations.

The local authority wants to see around 2,300 daily cycle trips across the town.

The figures show 2,198 rentals were made in June and 3,365 rentals in July.

Image copyright Reading Borough Council
Image caption An estimated 40,186 miles have been covered by ReadyBikes since their launch.

Mr Page, the council's lead member for 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."

However, Mr Lawson said: "It is an extraordinary expensive way to get 100 more journeys a day, when they could have spent some of that money on the town's cycling infrastructure."

The bikes can be hired for £4 per day for members and £7 for non-members.

The council has identified a number of popular journeys, which include trips from Caversham to the town centre and Reading Station, as well as high use at the University of Reading's Whiteknights campus and Reading College.

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