The London Transport Authority (TfL) has announced plans to significantly increase the number of electric bicycles in its bike-sharing program this year. The Santander Cycles system, which was launched in October 2022 with 500 electric bicycles, now has 600 electric bikes. TfL has stated that it will add 1,400 more electric bicycles to the network this summer, bringing the total number of rentable electric bicycles in central London to 2,000.
TfL reported that registered users of the bike-sharing program took 6.75 million journeys on shared electric bikes in 2023, but the overall usage decreased from 11.5 million journeys in 2022 to 8.06 million journeys in 2023, reaching its lowest point in nearly a decade. This decline in usage may be due to the relatively high cost of single rides.
As a result, starting from March 3rd, TfL will reintroduce daily rental charges. The current price for shared electric bikes is £3 per day, and daily renters can enjoy unlimited 30-minute rides. Any ride exceeding 30 minutes will incur an additional fee of £1.65 for each additional 30 minutes. For monthly or annual subscribers, the usage fee for one hour remains at £1. For pay-as-you-go customers, the cost of riding an electric bike for 30 minutes is £3.30.
The daily ticket price is increasing to £3 per day, but the subscription fee remains at £20 per month and £120 per year. Subscription customers can enjoy unlimited 60-minute rides and will be charged an extra £1 for using electric bikes. Monthly or annual subscribers also receive a key fob for unlocking the bicycles, which is more convenient than using a smartphone app.
Santander Bank has pledged to continue sponsoring London’s flagship bike-sharing program at least until May 2025.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan commented, “I’m delighted that our fleet has increased by another 1,400 new electric bikes, doubling the number available to hire. Electric bikes have proven incredibly popular since their introduction, helping to break down barriers for some people to cycle. The new daily ticket price will also make Santander Cycles one of the most affordable ways to get around the capital.”