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‘Pay as you ride’ bicycle scheme is coming to Ipswich in March

PUBLISHED: 15:18 16 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:18 16 January 2018

Co-founder Tom McGovern with the bikes. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Co-founder Tom McGovern with the bikes. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Ipswich is set to get its own high-tech version of the ‘Boris Bike’ - where cyclists can use a simple phone app to get on two wheels.

The scheme is being paid for and run by Urbo, a firm which has already set up the ‘pay as you ride’ bikes in three London Boroughs.

The bicycles, which will cost riders 50p for a 30 minute session, are being aimed at residents, tourists and students at the University of Suffolk, offering a cheap and eco-friendly way to zip about town.

The scheme is set to get underway in March.

Tom McGovern, co-founder of Urbo, said: “Very simply, a user can download the app on Apple or Android. When they have the app, they find a bike and scan in one of the QR code and the smart lock will open.

Launch day for the new Urbo bike. Left to right, Co-owner Tom McGovern, Terry Hunt and councillor Carole Jones. Picture: GREGG BROWN Launch day for the new Urbo bike. Left to right, Co-owner Tom McGovern, Terry Hunt and councillor Carole Jones. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“Then you hop on your bike and when you reach your destination you park the bike up and your account is billed.

“We will have designated parking spaces which, if riders use them, will credit users through the Urbo credit system.”

Mr McGovern said all the bikes are fitted with a GPS tracker which will alert them if a bike is moved without being registered.

He said a dedicated team in Ipswich would keep the fleet in top working condition as well as making sure the bikes were returned to their designated spaces.

Ipswich is getting 500 boris bikes for the town this year. Picture: GREGG BROWN Ipswich is getting 500 boris bikes for the town this year. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Councillor Carole Jones said the scheme was perfect for Ipswich.

She said: “I think if this encourages local people to get on a bike then that would be great.

“It’s really good they are working alongside the University because it means students can pick up a bike and cycle to other parts of the town.

“This initiative will hopefully encourage the county council to improve and extend safe routes for cycling in Ipswich.”

Councillor Carole Jones tries one of the new Urbo bikes with Co-founder Tom McGovern. Picture: GREGG BROWN Councillor Carole Jones tries one of the new Urbo bikes with Co-founder Tom McGovern. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Rachel Gilbey, president of the University of Suffolk’s Student Union said: “I think it is a brilliant scheme for Ipswich and particularly students who stay here. Hopefully students will see the benefits and it will encourage them to think how they travel about the town and make more affordable decisions getting from A to B.

Terry Hunt, chairman of Ipswich Vision, added: “It is a key part of the Vision’s strategy to link up the Waterfront, including the University, with the town centre. Anything that helps people get around the town more easily is warmly welcomed.”

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