Boris Bikes for Cambridge, promises local Tory MP

Shilpita Mathews 6 February 2015

A leaked document obtained by Cambridge News indicates that Boris Bikes may be coming to Cambridge.

Andrew Lansley, Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire, has vowed to lobby large companies and the University of Cambridge to sponsor ‘Cambikes’. He is also hoping to secure a £1 billion City Deal to implement the proposed project.

Proposed bike stations include the Sidgwick Site, Museum Site, Biomedical Campus, the planned North West Cambridge site, West Cambridge, Cambridge Railway Station, Chesterton Station, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, science parks and five park and ride sites. Bike stations will also be on designated cycle routes.

Lansley was quoted by Cambridge News in a letter stating: “The Mayor of London’s scheme has demonstrated that this can be done successfully, and I am confident that a Cambridge bike scheme would work just as well.” He added, “I think this would be key for Cambridge’s economy and would be a fantastic asset for the city.” Julian Huppert, Cambridge MP, also backs a bike scheme, having suggested a similar concept in the past. However, he is skeptical of emulating Boris Bikes, saying: “The challenge comes in sorting out the right economies of scale and I am not convinced the model set up in London would work well in Cambridge. But I do think we could agree an arrangement with one of the hire companies to position bikes in many places around the city.” Graham Hughes, Cambridgeshire County Council’s transport chief, was also tentative about Cambikes, saying that although it is an “interesting idea … clearly there are costs involved in operating such a scheme”.

For some students the potential bike scheme is good news. Xiao Zheng, a first-year student at Gonville and Caius College, commented: “It sounds like a great idea, especially since the Cambike stations will be located at places where lots of students go for lectures and practicals.” However, she expressed skepticism saying, “If students need to use a bike more regularly, they may as well buy a bike that will be more convenient and cheaper than hiring a bike every day”.

With the proposed plans receiving mixed responses, it is yet to be seen if the scheme will materialise.