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Bournemouth baulks at Boris bike scheme
BOURNEMOUTH looks set to shy away from introducing a full-scale ‘Boris bike’ scheme, fearing it could prove a drain on the public purse.
Instead, councillors are being recommended to support Bournemouth University if it decides to go ahead with a student-based cycle hire initiative.
A special council panel has spent the past six months considering whether to develop a cycle hire scheme in the town and looked at four potential ideas – a full hop-on, hop-off scheme, a leisure cycling scheme, a railway station scheme and a university scheme.
The full scheme, as seen in London, was regarded as the most “exciting” option but would require at least 30 sites and would almost certainly need to be subsidised by the council.
Councillors looked at Blackpool, where there are 55 stations with 300 bikes, and learnt that it cost around £500,000 to set up and around £235,000 in running costs – around £21 per customer rental.
A leisure cycling scheme, which could have run along the seafront, gardens, chines and Stour Valley, was ruled out because of the cycling restrictions that are currently in place to protect pedestrians and young children.
But councillors are recommending that further investigations are carried out into a railway station scheme, which would see a single cycle station sited at the Bournemouth Travel Interchange for day-trippers or people working in the town to use.
This is deemed potentially feasible and not too expensive and will be looked at in more detail, if funding can be found from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
However, the scheme that is said to have the most potential is a university scheme. The council is keen to work with the university in helping to get a bike hire scheme off the ground and would be prepared to donate £50,000 towards the start-up costs.
It’s thought that this could reduce problems associated with students parking around the Talbot Campus and help the university achieve its travel plan targets.
The recommendations will be discussed by the environment and transport panel next Tuesday.