Launch of Edinburgh’s first cycle hire scheme: Just Eat Cycles

Bike sharing has ridden into the city of Edinburgh with the launch of “Just Eat Cycles” – Edinburgh’s very first cycle hire scheme. The programme was officially launched on Monday September 17 by operator, V, in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh, Transport for Edinburgh and other private stakeholders. 

The cycle hire scheme comes as a sustainable, alternative form of transportation to address the city’s congestion issue. 

Council leader Adam McVey told The Student that “The launch of a city-wide cycle hire scheme marks a new era in public transport for Edinburgh and for the people who work, study and visit here.

“Investment in cycling infrastructure has really gathered pace in recent years in the city, and this affordable and accessible scheme will complement the existing transport options available to those looking to get around the Capital.”  

To unlock the bike, users are required to download the “Just Eat Cycles” app on their phones. An hour pass costs £1.50, with day passes going at £3 and a promotional price of £75 for annual passes. 

Serco, the operator also behind the cycle hire scheme in London, adapted lessons from London and has tailored their offerings to Edinburgh, according to a company’s spokesperson. 

The bicycles are equipped with intelligent controllers that enable both physical and virtual docking points. 

This allows the scheme “flexibility” especially in times of festivals and big events according to Keri Otton, Marketing Manager from Just Eat Cycles. Virtual docking points, using geo-fencing technology, will be demarcated through a physical mat so cyclists will know exactly where they are supposed to dock their bicycles. 

“It will be a vinyl mat on the floor so people will be able to clearly see it and you will be able to cycle up and lock your bikes specifically in that location so you don’t have the same issues as you do in other schemes around the country where bikes get left all over the place, creating unregulated street clutter”, Otton told The Student. 

The launch of this scheme has gained traction amongst Edinburgh students. 

Georgie Harris, Vice President Community of the Edinburgh University Students’ Association told The Student that “My predecessor [in this role] Ollie was involved in initial discussions between various university departments [Transport and Social Responsibility & Sustainability] and Transport for Edinburgh when the cycle hire scheme was being established last year, to ensure the student voice was heard in its establishment.

“I think it’s an exciting scheme – loads of European cities have really successful bike hire schemes, and Edinburgh should also get to benefit from something similar. Transport is such a big issue for students, but if it was easier to cycle around between campuses and from your flat to uni, then maybe less people would have to rely on buses, or even their cars.”

Third year PhD Architecture student, Ezequiel Colmenero, commented on the scheme, telling The Student, “I won’t use it because I already have a bicycle but I love it because it will get the average person that is not a bicycle junky like me to ride to work occasionally, especially the office workers that commute from other towns and do not want to take a bicycle on the train. 

“It will make Edinburgh an even better city for cycling by increasing the people cycling.” 

First year MSc student, Maho Tate, told The Student “I think it’s such a great idea although if there’s a plan only for like ten minutes, and for 50 pence or something, students might be more interested in using them for transportation between their classes.” 

At the moment, 200 bicycles are available for hire at 19 different locations around the campus and city, with plans to have 1000 bikes in rotation by the end of the year. Docking points can be found around the campus such as George Square, Bristo Square, Pollock Halls, the Sanderson Building, the Roger Land Building to name a few, and around the city by Waverley Station, on Fountainbridge and at the Meadows. 

Just Eat Cycles also plans to venture into the electric scooter hire scheme at some point next year. 

Search “Just Eat Cycles | Edinburgh Cycle Hire” for more information on the cycle hire scheme. 

Image: Nick Taylor via Flickr

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