‘BORIS bikes’ could be wheeling their way into Stratford.
Stratford District Council was this week set to discuss whether a public bike hire scheme – like that operated in London and nicknamed after former mayor Boris Johnson who introduced them – should be provided in the town centre.
It would enable people to rent a bike from various docking stations at points such as the railway station, park and rides and tourist attractions, and allow them to return it at another point.
The council suggests some 60 to 80 bikes should be provided, with users charged every half hour at a cost of between 50p and £1.
Users would register through a website or app and then can use the bikes through a membership scheme or on a one-off basis.
The council says introducing such a scheme would improve travel and air quality in the town which has been a rising cause of concern.
A spokesman said: “These systems offer the ability to integrate the public cycle hire scheme with the public transport network to allow users to complete more journeys without cars.
“The proposals have the potential to improve transport within Stratford and could reduce vehicle use which would reduce emissions and improve air quality.
“A private hire cycle scheme has the potential to add a number of transport, health an environmental benefits for residents and visitors to Stratford.”
Both the Stratford Transport Strategy and Warwickshire Air Quality report, which were both released this year, included suggestions to introduce rental bikes to the town.
The Transport Strategy reads: “The London bike hire scheme has generally been considered a success and this model could be replicated within Stratford to enable visitors and residents who do not have one to make journeys by bicycle.”
The cost would be covered by a contractor, but if electric cycles were introduced – to support less-able cyclists – the cost would have to be met by the council.
Speaking to the Observer earlier this year, Stratford BID director Joseph Baconnet said he was unsure how the bikes would work until a more in-depth look was taken at the proposals.
He told the Observer: “It is all part of a theme encouraging walking and cycling.
“The scheme works in London but Stratford isn’t that big, the town centre is quite small. It is a good aspiration but depends whether it is a benefit. The devil is in the detail.”