Reading is the latest town to get its own bike hire scheme, with 200 bikes setting sail under the Readybike banner.
The system is set to launch on June 10th, operated by specialist firm Hourbike. 29 docking stations will be in operation, at locations such as Reading Station, Broad Street, Thames Valley Park, the University of Reading, Whitley, Green Park, and north of the Thames in Caversham. Reading’s cycle maps and directional signage have been updated to include locations of docking stations across the town.
Two of the docking stations will follow later – Reading Station South, where installation has been delayed by the ongoing station redevelopment, and an ‘out-of-borough’ docking station at Earley.
How it works
Regular hirers can choose to become ‘members’ of Readybike by signing up at www.readybike.co.uk. For members, use of ReadyBike is free for half an hour at the start of every rental and then £1 an hour after that, with a maximum rental cap of £4. Annual membership costs £50.
For people who do not want to be members, ReadyBike is also available for occasional or one-off use by users registering their details online. The tariff for non-members is the same as that for members (£1 an hour) but they do not get the first 30 minutes of every rental free and the maximum rental charge is at £7.
To rent a bike, users tap in their membership number and PIN. Once the selected bike has been chosen at the console, a light on top of the selected dock will begin to flash meaning it is ready to use. To return a bike, the user only has to insert their bike into any empty dock at any station. The dock will accept the bike and automatically close the open rental period for that user on an electronic system. Members can keep a constant check on their personal account online.
An online tutorial explains the system:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xu1gjWEYUg
Hourbike are already running similar schemes in Liverpool, Dumfries, Nottingham, Lincoln and Southport.