Visitors to Coventry city centre will be able to hire bikes to get around from the end of this month.

The West Midlands Cycle Hire will launch at various spots across the city centre from Monday, March 29.

More than 20 docking stations will be available in locations including Pool Meadow Bus Station, the Canal Basin, Friargate, as well as some approach roads to the city centre.

The distinctive green and grey bikes will cost £1 to unlock and 5p per minute after that, meaning a 20-minute cycle ride will cost £2. An hour’s ride will cost £4.

The scheme has been launched by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), to encourage more people to become active and offer a more environmentally-friendly alternative to the car.

The roll-out on Coventry will follow launches in Wolverhampton and Sutton Coldfield.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands said: “Coventry is the third location to get our West Midlands Cycle Hire bikes on the street, and I am sure they will prove very popular across the city as coronavirus restrictions continue to ease.

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“Not only are they cheap, but they are quick and easy to use, perfect for getting across the city or out on a leisurely ride, and help to reduce air pollution and tackle the region’s climate emergency.

“The new hire scheme forms part of the unprecedented funding we are putting into transport in Coventry – including redeveloping the railway station, revamping Pool Meadow bus station, creating an all-electric bus city, developing safe cycle lanes, and now offering West Midlands Cycle Hire.

“The city is also a hotbed of innovation in transport with projects like Very Light Rail, e-scooter trials, and our new West Midlands Bus On Demand pilot set to transform the way people move about.”

The bikes will only be hired for essential journeys and daily exercise, but as restrictions start to ease they will also be available for other trips.

Users need to download the ‘Beryl Cycle Hire’ app. Later this year, they will also be available via the new ‘Swift’ app.

West Midlands Cycle Hire are offering everyone who signs up their first 30 minute bike ride for free.

Coventry’s Bicycle Mayor Adam Tranter described the launch as “great news”.

He said: “It is long coming and it is great to finally see the bikes on the ground and here in Coventry on March 29.

“When we talk about people cycling, those short journeys can make a real difference to how we feel and to the environment.

“Having access to bikes at low cost can be a barrier so to have cycle hire here in the city will be a real success and it is really positive to get people on bikes to help people on short journeys use another mode of transport.

“We have also seen Coventry City Council building more cycle lanes so there is a really good way for everyone to work together and it seems everyone is on the same page to get people on bikes.”

The pedal cycles have three gears to cope with hilly roads and are fitted with laser safety lights.

The scheme is also completely ‘Made in the West Midlands’, with Coventry-based RDM Group involved in the production of the locking system.

The bikes will be rolled out to other areas in the West Midlands in the coming months. In total there will be 170 fixed docking stations and 1,500 bikes – 150 of which will be e-bikes.

TfWM said the five-year contract with Serco, the operator of London’s successful Santander Cycle Hire scheme, offers the opportunity for more docks and bikes as demand increases.

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