Commuters could be riding ‘Boris bikes’ as early as next spring as they peddle their way between chained city hotspots.
More than 500 bicycles and up to 60 docking stations will link the city centre, business parks and residential estates – making it the second largest cycle hire scheme outside of London where the scheme was introduced by Mayor Boris Johnson.
The seven-year deal follows an undisclosed investment by Santander and nextbike after the idea was put into gear by MK City Centre Management.
Manager Melanie Beck believes the venture will help MK move away from its “car centric” attitude.
She said: “Milton Keynes was the city of cars, but we cannot provide parking for the growing number of people.
“We don’t want to become the city of car parks – we want to be the city of bikes.
“We have no hills and plenty of open spaces, so it’s perfect. It’s time to put redways on the map.” Santander chief Nathan Bostock this week pledged to make the cycle scheme “easy, fun and rewarding” for cyclists in the home of his company’s headquarters.
Unlike London, MK bike-borrowers will not be restricted by pre-paid time slots – they can even take cycles home over night.
Cyclists will also be treated to a cheaper service than London, although the exact prices are still being worked out.
The scheme aims to take advantage of the city’s 170-mile redway network, currently undergoing £50million worth of improvements.
The wheelie big news follows recent council proposals to charge employees more to park in CMK. Ms Beck added: “We are giving commuters a viable alternative. It is a step towards changing views that the car is the only mode of transport into the city.
“And after being told that the council is shrinking parking spaces to make new bays, bikes are the only thing that is going to fit in those spaces.”