Brompton's new bike hire concept enables commuters to carry a hired folded bike on the train to within cycling distance of their destination.
Many of the bicycle related innovations we’ve seen over recent years have capitalized on the vehicle’s eco-friendly credentials. Now London-based folding bike manufacturers Brompton are also drawing attention to the bike’s superior convenience over other modes of transport, offering commuters an alternative to buses, trains and taxis with the Brompton Dock — a new bike hire concept. Currently being piloted at Guildford station in Surrey in partnership with South West trains, Brompton Dock is an extension of familiar ‘park and ride’ programs. Commuters arrive at Guildford train station where 40 Bromptons are stored in a bank of lockers on the platform. When the membership smartcard is swiped, a screen indicates which bay is unlocked, and the commuter can take the folded bike to use straight away, or carry on the train to within cycling distance of their destination. Members can keep the bike for as long as they like, and return it to the dock when they’re finished. The program is designed to be “simple, convenient and excellent value for money”. Membership costs GBP 50 a year, and includes annual 24/7 access to Brompton Dock. Bike hire is GBP 4 per day for a single day, GBP 2 per day for more than a week’s hire, and GBP 1.60 per day for one month’s hire. The smartcard keeps track of bike usage and members are charged at the end of each month. Though currently only available in Guildford, Brompton are working with South West trains and other organizations to bring the program to other locations. Brompton Dock hopes to save members time and money on tube or bus travel, provide a cheaper alternative to purchasing a Brompton, and, with the smartcard, eliminate the hassle of carrying cash. What’s more, by applying the ‘park and ride’ mechanic to folding bikes, they’ve made the model more versatile than before. An idea with appeal to commuters in the UK and beyond? Spotted by: Katharina Kieck