A key component in Watford Council’s pledge to become a carbon-neutral town with more sustainable travel options launched, with the arrival of Beryl Bike’s hybrid bike share scheme – the first of its kind in Hertfordshire.
Just 6 months from the scheme being awarded to the leading bike-share operator, the Beryl Bikes service launches a gradual rollout of 200 pedal bicycles, followed by 100 electric bikes (e-bikes) later in the year. Beryl Bikes are available to pick up and drop off at up to 70 marked Beryl Bays, supporting residents and visitors who want a greener mode of transport throughout the town. 74% of Watford residents live within five minutes walking distance of a Beryl Bay.
Those in Watford are able to hire a Beryl Bike through the Beryl app, available for free download on the App Store for iOS, and the Google Play Store for Android users. The bikes can be picked up and dropped off in marked ‘Beryl Bays’ that have been selected and approved in conjunction with the Watford Council, to ensure the scheme is in line with the needs of the community.
Bays are visible both in-app and on street with a mix of three different styles of Beryl Bay providing more cycle-friendly space in the town. Bays are a mix of stands, planters and parklets. After enjoying a trip, riders can tether the Beryl Bike to one of the up to 70 Beryl Bays installed across the town for the next rider to pick up.
Beryl are championing the use of planters and parklets – small landscaped areas with seating and planting – in their bike share system. These contribute to the greening of the town and create a more enjoyable outdoor space for the whole community, not only Beryl Bike users.
Beryl has a community-first approach and has already partnered with the Watford Chamber of Commerce to best reach local businesses and institutions. Ahead of the launch, Beryl held an open house event on the high street to allow local groups and people to have a first look at the bikes and meet the team. With support from key organizations like Visit Watford, and with participation in key local events throughout the year, Beryl is working to embed the bike share system into the Watford community and make cycling a priority choice for short, urban trips.
It’s hoped the innovative scheme which has both pedal and electric-assisted bicycles will have a positive effect on cycling in Watford. Information from the Census Journey To Work commissioned by the Office of National Statistics shows 44% of people travel less than 5km to work in Watford, a journey that could easily be cycled. Data from existing Beryl schemes shows over 84% of trips taken by Beryl Bike are 5km and under.
Beryl CEO Phillip Ellis, said, “We are delighted to partner with Watford Council to make sustainable travel around the town as easy as possible. We’re eager to demonstrate how a high-quality bike share scheme can reduce barriers to cycling, be it as part of a commute to work or for leisure. Our service also offers control and order to busy streets as riders pick up and drop off Beryl Bikes in marked bays.”
The British urban cycling brand has quickly grown from providing safety-driven technology to bike share schemes around the world to implementing its cutting edge technologies in its own bike-share schemes. Beryl’s hybrid services are operating across the United Kingdom in London, Bournemouth, Hereford and now Watford. Additional bike-share schemes will shortly be going live in Norwich as well as across the globe in New York. Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said, ‘I’m delighted that we are launching this new bike share scheme. When I was elected, this was one of my key promises and it is great to be able to deliver on this.”
“This new scheme will give people another option for traveling around our town, help to make our air cleaner and reduce congestion. This is part of a series of improvements which also includes introducing on-demand buses later this month and our new travelWatford transport app. Everyone knows that our roads are busy and so it’s right that we take action to improve transport in Watford.”
Riders will have a payment choice of Pay-As-You-Ride (£1 unlock fee + 5p per minute), Minute Bundles (no unlock fee and bundles starting at 100 minutes for £5) or Day Passes (24 hours of unlimited riding for £12). Once their ride is complete, riders simply close the lock on the bike to complete their ride & tether the bike to their closest Beryl Bay to make it available for the next person to use.