Celebrating 10 years of cycle hire in London

TfL says its cycle hire scheme has been at the forefront of a cycling boom over the last decade, contributing to the largest increase in cycling in London since records began.

On 30 July 2010, TfL introduced a cycle hire scheme with 350 docking stations across eight London boroughs.

In the first 12 months of the scheme, 6.2 million hires were made.

Since becoming Santander Cycles in May 2015, the scheme has continued to go from strength-to-strength.

Today, there are 781 docking stations and more than 12,000 bikes available – and in 2018, more than 10.5m journeys were made using Santander Cycles in a calendar year for the first time. 

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, said: “London’s cycle hire initiative has been a fantastic success story and over the past decade we have seen this flagship scheme go from strength-to-strength.

“We are delighted that this summer there has been record-breaking demand for our Santander Cycles and we are capitalising on this by adding new docking stations, cycle hire hubs and bikes, which will make it even more convenient for Londoners to take to two wheels.”

Keeping London moving during the Covid-19 pandemic
TfL says that during the Covid-19 pandemic, the scheme has played an ‘even more critical role’ by keeping London moving.

More than 85,000 new members have signed up to the scheme since March – a 200% increase on the same period last year – contributing to more than 2.3m hires throughout May and June.

Previously, the scheme had never surpassed more than 50,000 hires on a normal workday, a record that has now been broken 13 times over the last seven weeks. Santander Cycles saw its busiest ever week with 363,000 hires between 25-31 May.

Helen Sharp, TfL’s head of cycle hire business development, said: “Ten years ago we launched the cycle hire scheme. Today, our Santander Cycles are as familiar a sight on our streets as a black cab or a roundel, embraced by Londoners and visitors to our city alike.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate ten years of our successful cycle hire scheme, which is helping us to achieve our vision for London becoming one of the world’s best Capital cities for cycling.

“Cycling has grown enormously over the last decade and never more so than during this summer. There has never been a better time to cycle and we look forward to expanding our iconic Santander Cycles scheme in the months and years ahead.”

10 years of cycle hire in London

  • 30 July 2010 – Cycle hire is launched in the capital and 6.2m hires are made in the first 12 months of the scheme
  • July 2012 – Almost 47,000 hires – the most in one day since the scheme launched
  • December 2013 – Cycle hire extends east, west and south with the opening of 150 new docking stations, with new stations in Wandsworth, Hammersmith & Fulham, Lambeth and Kensington & Chelsea
  • May 2015 – Santander and TfL announce a seven-year partnership and Santander Cycles launch
  • May 2015 – The Santander Cycles app was launched to make it easier to find and hire bikes
  • January 2016 – Santander Cycles expands to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with eight new docking stations
  • June 2016 – The scheme breaks the 50 million hire mark
  • 2016 – All cycles are fitted with laser lights to increase visibility. The lights project a symbol of a bicycle six metres in front of the cycle, onto the ground, giving cyclists a larger footprint on the road
  • October 2017 – The next generation of Santander Cycles arrive in London. The new cycles offer riders improved handling, safety and comfort, with a new gel saddle, lower frame, tyres with puncture prevention, new gear hub and improved front and rear lighting
  • February 2018 – Santander Cycles extend to Brixton with eight new docking stations
  • November 2018 – The process of hiring a cycle was made easier with a quicker booking process and the introduction of contactless payments
  • 2018 – For the first time, more than 10.5m journeys were made using Santander Cycles in a calendar year
  • December 2019 – New docking stations open at Blackfriars, Victoria, Queensway and Paddington rail stations
  • 2019 – More than 1.7 million hires using the Santander Cycles app during the year
  • January 2020 – Santander Cycles app reaches 1m downloads

05 August 2020