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7 September 2010

Scotland's First Cycle Hire Scheme Launched

£300,000 OF GREEN INITIATIVES TO REDUCE EMISSIONS AND PROMOTE HEALTHY LIVING

A cycle hire initiative to provide greener, healthier travel options was launched in Dumfries today by Transport Minister, Stewart Stevenson.

The £155,000 BIKE2Go scheme is the first of its kind to be introduced in Scotland. It provides bicycles free of charge to subscribers from nine locations across the town to boost cycling numbers, reducing emissions and promoting healthy activity.

The initiative is complemented with a new £150,000 Cycling Scotland interest free loan scheme that will assist private sector businesses across Scotland with the cost of installing workplace cycling facilities, such as bike shelters and on-site changing facilities.

Speaking at the launch, Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said:

“I’m delighted to be launching both of these initiatives to encourage people to get out of their cars and onto their bicycles. Scotland has established world-leading targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions and providing more sustainable transport alternatives will help us meet those targets. We are also committed to improving our nation’s health, and our investment in these schemes underlines our commitment to achieving these goals.

“I’m sure both visitors and the local community will welcome this opportunity to take convenient, affordable bike trips in and around Dumfries, replacing their shorter car journeys with a greener, healthier alternative.”

The scheme is part of the Scottish Government’s Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP) programme, one of a number of initiatives to encourage people to make the switch to a more sustainable transport method and to meet the vision for 10% of all journeys to be made by bicycle by 2020.

BIKE2Go, which is based on similar successful models in Paris, Barcelona, Stockholm and London, joins other cycle schemes across Scotland ranging from providing bikes on a trial basis in Dundee and Glasgow, improved bike storage in Falkirk, discount cycle schemes in Orkney and East Dunbartonshire, improved bicycle routes along the River Clyde and improving cycle skill sessions in East Renfrewshire.

Councillor Brian Collins, Chair of SWestrans, said:

“We’re delighted to be the first local authority in Scotland to offer a bike hire scheme, putting us on an even footing with some of Europe’s most famous cities in offering local people the chance to take convenient cycle journeys whenever they need to.”

Councillor Roger Grant of Dumfries and Galloway Council said:

“Research has shown that participation in cycling rises when people are given access to hire schemes such as the BIKE2Go project, and I look forward to seeing locals enjoying themselves on bikes all around Dumfries.”

Managed by SWestrans (South West Regional Transport Partnership) under its GoSmart Dumfries banner, the BIKE2Go scheme has 30 bikes available free of charge for half an hour, with an hourly rental fee of £1 for longer use. There is a £10 annual subscription for the scheme.
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