When the Brompton Dock was launched last year at Guildford train station, there were high hopes that the innovative cycle hire system would take off at other stations. Since then, Brompton Dock Ltd, the sister company of Brompton Bicycle, has been busy concluding agreements with train operators to take the system nationwide with 14 locations set to be operational this year.
From next week, a Brompton Dock will be operational at Manchester’s Piccadilly after Virgin Trains agreed to come on board with the cycle hire system. From April 3rd, residents, commuters and visitors to Manchester will be able to hire a Brompton bike from a Brompton Dock located just outside Piccadilly station.
Pricing for the hire of a Brompton bike at the pilot in Guilford was £4 per day and £2 per day if you keep the bike for a week. A month hire (23-31 days hire) was £1.60 per day. Pricing for the Manchester dock is expected to be the same.
In the Guilford Pilot, Brompton Dock users needed a smartcard to use the scheme but the Manchester operation will be offering an alternative method to register and take bikes out with a SMS system via mobile phone being used.
Users will have to register at http://www.bromptondock.co.uk (not operational until April 3). Having chosen a suitable hire tariff, a user/member will then be sent a personal four-digit pin number. To take out a Brompton bike, members send a text, including the dock number and their personal pin, following which they will receive a text with a bay number and an access code to take their bike out.
Manchester’s Brompton Dock will house up to 40 Brompton bikes. Brompton Dock facilities will also be appearing at Ashford International station, Canterbury West, Maidstone East, Tonbridge, Oxford, Bristol, Southampton and Exeter through the course of this year – I’ll be interested to try out the dock in Tonbridge, my home town, when it comes online later in the year.