Leicester secures funds for ‘Boris Bikes’ scheme

Leicester has been awarded nearly £8m of Department for Transport funding for a range of city transport schemes.

The bid – part of the council’s Transforming Cities work – has secured investment for two major projects, focusing on creating an extensive cycling network and bike hire scheme and bringing in a fleet of electric buses on one of the city’s three Park and Ride routes.

Around £6.25m will fund the development of a network of high-quality walking and cycling links, which will connect the city centre to the universities, neighbourhoods and other key areas of the city.

Some £500,000 of that will be used to create a new public bike hire scheme, with around 500 bikes available for hire from more than 50 docking stations across the city.

It is hoped the bike hire scheme will be up and running in late 2019.

A further £1.6m has been agreed to electrify the Park and Ride service running between Birstall and the city centre, along with the associated infrastructure allowing the electric vehicles to be charged over night at the Birstall Park and Ride site. The service is run jointly with Leicestershire County Council.

The service is designed to cut congestion on the busy A6 corridor, working with the bus company to replace existing diesel vehicles with new electric buses to help cut air pollution in the city.

Both schemes are designed to support the local economy and help improve air quality in the city.

Leicester’s £7.84m grant is the result of the city council’s successful bid for a share of £60m of Department for Transport funding for schemes to be delivered in 2019/20.

In addition to nearly £8m of DfT funding, the city council and partners will also contribute funding for the schemes.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This announcement is fantastic news and allows us to move ahead with these two very significant and ambitious sustainable transport schemes, which offer real, clean alternatives to car travel in the city as well as improved transport links.

“The prospect of a bike hire scheme is a very interesting one, which could make a real difference to the way people travel within the city and between sites like the universities, Leicester Royal Infirmary and the new employment developments around the National Space Centre.

“Electrifying the Park and Ride services, starting with the route from Birstall, is a huge step forward in using clean and efficient technology in public transport.”