Pilot scheme for bike rental to start in Hammersmith.

Bike station

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Just type your pin number in the special meter (see photo) installed, let's say, at the BBC Television Centre. This will release one of the bicycles attached to it and you can go anywhere. To return it, go to the closest meter distributed across the borough and leave the bike there for the next commuter. What if you want to make one or more stops? Lock the bike as you would do with your own.

100 meters or "bike stations" (the precise name is locking port) should be distributed around North Hammersmith from September this year in the initial phase of this pilot scheme. If it works, it will be extended to the rest of the borough and, why not, London wide. Those locking ports with three bicycles each will be placed in key locations such tube stations, bus stops, public buildings, car parks and main roads.

The OYBike project is an idea embraced by the local social entrepreneur Gordon Keenan, also director of the Urban Partnership Group. According to him, the project will bring bicycles to the public transport domain. He says: "OYBike is not an alternative to public transport. It is an extra option of transport."

Following this pilot project in Hammersmith, OYBike aims to have rental station within 500 meters of each other and 40,000 bikes available in the streets. The use of the existing base of installed cycle stands means that no extra street space needs to be allocated for the execution of the project.

This week, on the 5th June, Keenan will be presenting the project to the BBC in White City and, if he has the go ahead (meaning funds), the locking ports will start to be installed there as soon as this summer. OYBike also has funds of £100,000 from Transport for London, through LBHF, from the Department of Transport and other small grants.

For hiring the bikes, it will be necessary to pre-register at an annual fee of £10. Rates start at £0,50 for 20 minutes, £2,00 for 2 hours and £8,00 for the day. OYBike is also expecting revenue from advertising placed in the bicycles.

For more information: OYBike Web site