The New Forest National Park Authority is considering introducing a similar scheme to London’s Boris Bikes, whereby docking stations and cycles for hire are placed at intervals around the city.
The cycle scheme proposed by the park authority is the first of its kind to be considered in a rural area. Plans to install 250 bikes and 20 docking stations are set to be funded by a grant from the Department of Transport of over £3.5 million, with the purpose of promoting sustainable transport in the New Forest area. This money must be allocated and spent by April, meaning that people looking for cottages to rent in the New Forest next summer may be able to hop onto a New Forest Boris Bike!
The Boris Bikes of London are maintained and owned by Transport for London/Serco Group. Similarly, the New Forest cycles will be provided and looked after by a private company, although an operator has yet to be confirmed.
Local councillors backing the idea
The plan hasn’t yet faced any major opposition, with local councillors and even competing bike hire companies firmly behind the idea. In an article that first appeared on BBC news, District and County Councillor David Harrison said “I think it would be hugely beneficial …It's generally exciting for residents and visitors, should it go ahead."
Future competitors from Forest Leisure Cycling also said, in the same article, that they welcome the company’s arrival to the New Forest and will hope to work together with them.
The main aim of this proposed scheme is to reduce traffic through the New Forest while providing visitors with a fun and alternative way to get around the National Park. The docking stations and hire spots will be sensitively placed within handy distance of attractions and transport links, as well as accommodation such as charming English country cottages.