London's cycle hire scheme has enjoyed a record-breaking start to 2017 with more than 600,000 journeys made in January.
The 638,491 hires last month beats last year's January record of 586,325, and follows a record-breaking 2016. Last year an unprecedented 10.3m hires were made using Santander Cycles - a 4.4 per cent increase on 2015.
In total since the scheme was launched in July 2010, there have been more than 56m journeys.
Among the improvements made to the popular scheme last year were the introduction of safety Blaze Laserlights to all 11,500 bikes, a new Santander Cycles Business Accounts scheme, and more bikes and docking stations including at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
A range of Santander Cycles activities have also helped drive the growth, with "Spin Up" classes at iconic locations across London, online 'how to' films starring Jenson Button and Jessica Ennis-Hill's women's cycle ride along the East-West Cycle Superhighway all designed to engage, educate and inspire people to experience something new and try the bikes.
Later this year, TfL will introduce a next-generation bike for Santander Cycles that retains the popular features of the existing model, but will be lighter and more manoeuvrable with smaller wheels, a lower frame, a new gear hub and a more comfortable seat.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
'I'm delighted that record numbers of Londoners are using our world-famous Santander Cycles to travel around the capital. Cycling helps to improve our health, air quality and congestion, and that's why I'm investing record amounts to make it even safer and easier for all Londoners to take to two wheels.'
Paul Cowperthwaite, TfL's General Manager responsible for Santander Cycles, said:
'Last year was a remarkable success for Santander Cycles, with new records being set for the busiest weekend, month and year. And this year will also be an exciting one as new lighter, more manoeuvrable bikes will be released to encourage even more people to have a go and widen the appeal of the scheme even further.'
Keith Moor, Chief Marketing Officer at Santander said:
'The Santander Cycles Scheme is a great example of our commitment to supporting local communities and helping people and businesses prosper. Through the partnership with TfL we wanted to bring excitement and innovation to the scheme, whilst making it more accessible, enjoyable and giving people more confidence to cycle around this remarkable city. It's been great to see records broken and hires on an upward trend and we look forward to announcing more exciting plans in 2017.'
The Mayor has committed an average £154m per year for cycling over the next five years - nearly double the amount spent by the previous Mayor. The record investment will deliver more joined-up cycling infrastructure right across the city and includes funding for new Cycle Superhighways, Quietway routes, and a new cyclist and pedestrian bridge linking Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf.
Encouraging people to cycle is one of the key components of the Mayor's plan to help Londoners lead healthier and more active lives. Part of this ambition is providing a world class cycle hire scheme, which will help Londoners get about quickly without having to use a car, while benefiting their health and improving air quality.
To find your nearest Santander Cycles docking station, visit www.tfl.gov.uk/santandercycles.
Notes to Editors:
Images available on request