New network shows people of Manchester can hold on to hire bike scheme

Riders have used the new bikes for over 10,000 miles in the scheme's first four weeks - a turn around after Mobike departure due to vandalism and theft

A woman on a Bee Network bike
A woman on a Bee Network bike in Hulme, Greater Manchester
(Image credit: Transport for Greater Manchester)

Three years after Manchester became the first city in the world to lose its Mobikes due to vandalism and theft, its new bike hire scheme has proved enormously popular in its first month.

In the first four weeks of the scheme being open, over 10,000 miles had been clocked on Greater Manchester’s new Bee Network hire bikes. 

After being launched to the public on 18 November, the hire bikes are available from multiple stations along Oxford Road, at MediaCityUK and at the University of Salford.

As of Tuesday, 10,406 miles have been collectively ridden as part of 6,400 rides. 2,800 people have signed up so far.

The scheme is still in its embryonic stage, with 250 bikes set to be available from January, before the full roll out of 1,500 bikes from June. Phase one will see it expand into Trafford.

So far, the hire service appears to be fairing better than the previous Mobike scheme, which only lasted a year in Manchester before it was suspended. 

At the time, the company said that it was too expensive to keep it running, with the levels of bike loss proving unsustainable.

The new Bee Network is different, in that there are docks for the bikes, much like Santander Cycles in London. To hire a bike all people need to do is download the Beryl app, provide a few details, locate a bike, unlock it and start riding, before then docking it again at the end of the ride.

On average the scheme is seeing users collectively ride over 270 miles per day, which peaked on Friday 19 November when users of the scheme clocked 572 miles on the bikes.

Richard Nickson, the Cycling and Walking Programme Director at Transport for Greater Manchester, said in a press release that "people are really taking to the scheme".

"I'm thrilled that so many miles have been ridden on Greater Manchester’s new hire bikes," he said. "Especially with the cold and rainy weather we’ve had recently.

“Bee Network Cycle Hire provides easy, affordable access to bikes and plays a massive role our vision for an integrated, carbon neutral travel network – the Bee Network. It’s also really positive to see lots of repeat rides taking place – which demonstrates people are really taking to the scheme.”

“I would like to thank everyone for braving the weather and making the most of the scheme. If you haven’t given the bikes a go yet, download the Beryl app and give them a try!”

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