Serco, the international service company that manages the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme, has added new vehicles provided by Zenith to its London fleet to help to improve the flow and availability of bikes.
The scheme provides access to cycle hire across London, with a total of 11,000 bikes and 756 docking stations.
It has grown in popularity and scale since it was first rolled out in 2010, with the addition of a further 150 new docking stations and over 2,000 new bikes in December 2013.
The cycle docking stations are continually monitored to ensure that they are left neither completely full so that bikes cannot be dropped off, nor empty so that none are available.
The expansion of the scheme has led to six new Fiat Ducato vans being added to the fleet, to move the bikes around London and maintain adequate stock levels. Each van has been modified to carry 18 bikes.
The docking stations need to be regularly cleaned, checked and serviced.
Serco is currently trialling an electric van, a Nissan e-NV200, as one of its 50 cycle hire servicing and maintenance vans.
The required daily range means that the van can be charged overnight.
It is hoped that electric vehicles will eventually replace all the vans used for the servicing and maintenance of the docking stations, following completion of the trial.
As well as helping to reduce emissions, the electric vans will have lower running costs and will be exempt from the congestion charge.
All the vehicles are leased, managed and converted by Zenith, Serco’s fleet funding and management partner.
Zenith has worked with Serco to identify journeys and uses for which an electric vehicle could be a viable option.
Jeremy Wormington, operations director at Serco, said: “The new vehicles have been rolled out following analysis of previous bike usage and it is hoped that they will further improve the flow of cycles around London.
“It has been great to see the scheme grow in popularity and expand considerably over the last four years.
“Zenith has provided us with support and advice in identifying our commercial vehicle fleet requirements and throughout the electric trial.
“We hope that the next step will be to use electric vehicles as part of the fleet on a permanent basis.”