TfL’s cycle hire programme saw the highest ever use of  Santander Cycles in 2021, with more than 10,900,000 hires made throughout the year.

This figure surpasses the city’s previous 2018 record by 371,000 hires.

For the first time in a calendar year, more than 1 million customers used TfL’s cycle hire scheme in 2021, including the 178,000 new members who joined the scheme throughout the year. This marks a seven percent increase in new members from 2020, with figures over twice those of any year prior to 2020.

More than one million hires were made in both September and October when many workers returned to the office. Indeed, in September, an average of 7,573 daily hires were made on weekdays between 07:00 and 10:00, which is the greatest rate of Santander Cycles commuter hires since the onset of the pandemic.

TfL Santander Cycles
Santander Cycles were first launched in London in May 2015

Throughout the pandemic, cycling became a more popular mode of transport, with 27 percent of Londoners using bikes throughout 2020/21, compared to 21 percent in 2019/20. This increase was also notable among people from minority ethnic communities.

Furthermore, TfL research revealed that one in five people who don’t cycle are actively considering doing so, which could increase participation levels to more than 40 percent of Londoners.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said:

It's fantastic to see our cycle hire scheme reach such incredible heights, achieving its highest ever hire numbers last year. Not only have we seen a huge rise in cycling since the pandemic, but participation has also broadened, particularly among people from minority ethnic communities.

The success of TfL’s cycle hire scheme is essential to the Mayor’s plans to make walking and cycling easier in London.

Since May 2020, more than 100km of cycle lanes have been built or are under construction as part of TfL’s long term aim to transform town centres and reduce traffic on residential streets to build a strategic network for cycling in London.

TfL Santander Cycle Lanes
Cycling increased by 22% in outer London during the pandemic, compared to spring 2019
Khan continued:

In order to keep up this success we need safe roads for cyclists, and we continue to work with boroughs to roll out cycle lanes, extra pavement space and safer junctions. I urge anyone who has been thinking of taking up cycling to give it a go and get riding this year.

Santander’s sponsorship of TfL’s bikes has been extended until May 2025, which will support TfL with its planned investment in cycle hire, ensuring the scheme continues to grow and more Londoners are encouraged to start cycling. The scheme will consequently be extended to new areas of London, and electric bikes will be introduced to help combat the barriers that discourage some people from cycling.


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