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New Cycle Hire At Manchester Piccadilly

A fully-automated smart cycle hire with foldable bikes opens next week at Piccadilly station

Published on March 28th 2012.

New Cycle Hire At Manchester Piccadilly

BROMPTON DOCK Ltd has announced a partnership with Virgin Trains to introduce Manchester's first fully-automated ‘smart’ cycle hire scheme at Manchester Piccadilly station.

From 3 April 2012 residents, commuters and visitors to Manchester will be able to hire a British hand-made folding bike located outside Piccadilly Station.

With no restrictions on public transport and train operators allowing them on during peak hours, the Brompton bike is a handy tool for getting around on.

Courtesy of this initiative, commuters and visitors to Manchester can now benefit from all the health benefits associated with cycling, with a product founded on the very best of British manufacturing and design expertise

The Brompton Dock will house up to 40 bikes. To be able to rent a bike you've got to register by visiting their website and following the instructions. Once registered, members can grab a bike and keep it for as long as they want, whether it‘s for an hour or a year.

There are different tariffs available for members for example the bike rent is £4 for a day, £15 for a week and £50 for a month. Thus the longer you rent the cheaper it gets. 

Brompton also offer an occasional tariff with cheaper annual fees but more expensive rent per day. Once members return the bike their usage is calculated and automatically charged to their credit card at the end of each hire. Members can also reserve a bike in advance. 

Norman Baker, Local Transport Minister, said: "I use a folding bike to get around London, especially when I need to get across to the House of Parliament quickly, so I know first-hand the benefits they bring. This innovation really showcases what can be achieved when transport providers come together to establish onward journey ideas for travellers. Commuters and visitors to Manchester can now benefit from all the health benefits associated with cycling, with a product founded on the very best of British manufacturing and design expertise."

Mark Antwis, Managing Director of Brompton Dock Ltd, comments: "With the launch of the new Manchester Piccadilly Brompton Dock, commuters and visitors in Manchester can now take advantage of an innovative system which offers an end to end journey solution. Brompton Dock provides easy access to the legendary Brompton bike which is fully transportable, meaning that you can take it with you wherever you go, even during busy times like rush hour."

Brompton Bikes

Brompton Bikes at Piccadilly Station

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28 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousMarch 28th 2012.

Hmm. Would rather see a city-wide scheme with proper bikes.

1 Response: Reply To This...
MancAdam85March 31st 2012.

How terribly optimistic of you.

Caspar NelsonMarch 28th 2012.

Bromptons are "proper bikes", they just fold up. They'll certianly be better to ride ride than the Boris bikes in London. Makes sense to me, people can rent them, explore Manchester but have the option to jump on a bus / in a taxi to get back to the station should they so desire. It would obviously be better if the scheme was city wide and maybe it will expand if the scheme proves successful. Hopefully this will lead to more poeple on bikes in Manchester which can only be a positive thing.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 28th 2012.

I think the folding thing will be off-putting to a lot of potential users, compared to proper bikes.

AnonymousMarch 28th 2012.

It's good to have the option but I also think a proper citywide scheme would be better.

Also, you can't just rock up, pay £4 and get off on the bike for the day. The £4 figure is for 'frequent users' who pay a £50 per annum membership fee.

'Occasional user' membership is £10 per annum with the daily fee being £8.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Calum McGMarch 28th 2012.

Got to start somewhere...

James KerrMarch 28th 2012.

As stated the already by Caspar Nelson the Brompton is a proper bike and also a success story of British design. It is an excellent idea as a 'city wide' bike, so why not start with Piccadilly Station and see how it goes. This has potential and should be applauded, as I know from personal experience that having a, in your view, 'proper bike' can be an hindrance when wanting to use other forms of transport and secure it for meetings at other peoples offices.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 28th 2012.

Okay, replace 'proper' with 'standard' or 'non-folding' or whatever, I wasn't slighting Bromptons, I just think a city-wide scheme with non-folding bikes and the facilities to support them would be more successful.
It's really great that a start that has been made, I just hope that this limited scheme isn't used by the powers that be as an excuse to delay the development of a comprehensive bike hire scheme that more people will use.

Calum McGMarch 28th 2012.

Well, I'd like to make a POSITIVE posting about this. What a great idea! Let's see how it progresses - and hopefully expands. Good on Brompton and Virgin for doing this.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
MancAdam85March 31st 2012.

Thank God! I can't believe how often default to pessimism! It's a start! It's progressive! It's different! Baby steps, people, baby steps!

MancAdam85March 31st 2012.

Apologies for my over use of "!"

It's the city, duffusMarch 28th 2012.

Yes, you have got to start somewhere...but will we ever get to this?



Could the ground floor of the to-be-refurbished wiggly station approach not house a decent bike store/storage?

AnonymousMarch 28th 2012.

After using the Boris bikes to get around London I was hoping that a similar scheme might come to Manchester. I know that the city is nowhere near as widespread but to me that's an opportunity as it'd cost less to set up and manage.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
EdMarch 28th 2012.

The Brompton Docks and bikes are MUCH cheaper to install and operate than the Boris bikes; for a start, 40 of these bikes fit into one car park space - 40 Boris bikes would require 40 separate docks, the digging up of 25-30 metres of tarmac, etc. etc.

AnonymousMarch 29th 2012.

Ed, I get that but what I like about the Boris bikes is that you can get one from any point and drop it off at another which is great for getting around.

tblzebraMarch 28th 2012.

This is great.

About this: 'With no restrictions on public transport...'.

Have Metrolink changed their Conditions of Carriage for this; they haven't allowed folding bikes on previously, 'unless they are fully encased'? So do these come with a bag?



1 Response: Reply To This...
Julie JohnsonMarch 29th 2012.

It's a fair question. I'd just carry a bin bag with me, although I'd rather not have to.

DavidMarch 28th 2012.

Ever since trains got rid of guard carriage there has not been adequate space for bikes.Trams were never built with bikes in mind.
It's funny Asian cities until 1960s were full of bycles,while ours were already full of cars.Now we seem to be seeing the advantages of bikes while they are seeing ever greater car ownership,and horrible levels of pollution.Chinese cities have terrible air quality.
Instead of tax cuts,why does the government not just give everyone a bike?.It would not just cut down pollution,it would cut the level of obesity and bad health,saving the health service a fortune.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 28th 2012.

Imagine the chaos when everyone had the God given right to run red lights & ride on the pavement...

Janet HamiltonMarch 29th 2012.

Fab idea!

AnonymousMarch 29th 2012.

Can you get on the metrolink with them or not???

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 30th 2012.

You can take them on the metrolink. They're supposed to be encased but I have it on good authority from the 'inside' that you will never be challenged on this.

AnonymousMarch 29th 2012.

Too right TBLZEBRA. I ride a Brompton (S2L if you're interested) and often take it onto the Metrolink. If they spot you, the metpolice will insist it's fully enclosed.

AnonymousMarch 29th 2012.

A spokesperson from Brompton Dock said they are discussing with Metrolink and the City Council to hopefully change the policy of only allowing folding bikes in covers on board, but nothing is certain yet.
Manchester Confidential suggests people buy a Tesco bag for life for the bikes (bag for bike) in the meantime...

1 Response: Reply To This...
DavidMarch 29th 2012.

Imagine the chaos if everyone got on the metrolink with a bike.But maybe some out of shape people just ride bikes in city centre,when they can be seen to be green.

@ManctasticMarch 30th 2012.

This looks like a curiosity rather than a proper go at a cycle scheme.

£10 for a trial? In London, I can pay £1 for 24 hours access to the bikes, and an individual hire of a bike for under half an hour is free. As a walk-up customer, can't get one of these for under a tenner!

You have to return the bike to Piccadilly, there's a complicated briefing note on how to fold and unfold the bike, there's no screen on the booking interface, so even that is an overcomplicated experience involving texts and your mobile.

Great for Brompton lovers, but they probably already have one. We need a simple, cheap, scheme for the rest of us, with at least fiver locations - N, S, E, W and Central.

TimmachineMarch 30th 2012.

Hope it's the start of something much bigger.

TimmachineMarch 30th 2012.

Google this: "Jan Gehl, Contested Streets"

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