Council could wheel out Boris Bikes plan in Aberdeen

Boris Johnson rides a cycle hire bike in central London

Aberdeen could be poised to get its own version of a “Boris Bikes” scheme.

Council chiefs have been asked to bring forward a business case around the introduction of a cycle hire scheme, which the ruling administration claim has the potential to bring a real “sea-change” to transport in the city.

It is understood officers could take inspiration from the new dockless hire bikes which launched in London last year. The bikes can be located and unlocked via a smartphone app and left at the user’s destination, rather than a docking station as is the case with the “Boris Bikes” scheme.

Revealing the scheme at the budget, Aberdeen City Council co-leader Douglas Lumsden said: “Following the success of similar projects in UK cities, we have instructed officers to provide a business case around the introduction of a cycle hire scheme with the potential to bring a real sea-change in attitudes to transport in the city.

“We have a growing number of people eager to embrace sustainable transport and by promoting and investing we hope that will continue to increase.

“Coupled with the proposed expansion of the network of charging points for electric vehicles in the city, the year ahead promises to continue the advances we have made in reducing emissions and implementing our sustainable transport strategy.”

Santander Cycles is a public bicycle hire scheme in London.

The scheme’s bicycles were popularly known as Boris Bikes, after Boris Johnson, who was the Mayor of London when it launched in the capital in 2010.

But it is not the first time the scheme has been mooted in Aberdeen. Back in 2011 transport partnership Getabout – which included Nestrans and Aberdeen City Council – commissioned consultant TRI to look at the idea.

Cllr Lumsden added: “We have asked the officers to go away and come back with a proposal on how it could be done.

“We think we have funding we can apply for that means we can do it.”

SNP group leader Stephen Flynn said: “We agreed the recommendation that they brought forward on the cycle hire scheme so hopefully it does come to Aberdeen.

“We need to look into it in terms of costings but as a concept it’s a good one.”

Councillor Ross Grant, the city council’s transport spokesman, said: “As an administration we are looking for ways of encouraging people out of their cars and using more environmentally friendly forms of transport.”