'Mobike' bicycle-hire scheme to be launched in Greater Manchester

Mobike Image copyright Mobike
Image caption Riders will be encouraged to use the bikes for short journeys at a cost of 50p per half hour

A bicycle-hire scheme - similar to London's "Boris Bikes" - is to be launched in Greater Manchester.

China-based company Mobike is bringing 1,000 bikes to Manchester and Salford as part of plans to expand into European cities.

The scheme features an accompanying app which uses GPS technology to show riders where the nearest available bike can be found.

It will be launched on 29 June and is backed by both councils.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham welcomed the scheme and said he was keen to take a "positive approach to promoting cycling" in the region.

However, he said Mobike was an "untested idea in the UK" and would be kept "under review".

Image copyright Mobike
Image caption The scheme has already been rolled out across China and Singapore

"We're conscious that our city centre is a complex and busy area already, so Transport for Greater Manchester has been working hard to establish a voluntary code of working with Mobike to make sure the service operates in a way that doesn't inconvenience other road users, pedestrians or city centre traders," he said.

"If successful, it could play an important part of our long-term plans for cycling in the region and for making travel easier and more sustainable."

Users will be required to leave a deposit. While the exact price is yet to be finalised, a Mobike spokesman said it was likely to be about £49.

Riders are encouraged to use the bikes for short journeys at a cost of 50p per half-hour.

Mobike said its distinctive silver and orange bikes would initially be deployed at "high-traffic locations" such as Metrolink stations and retail parks.

London's "Boris Bikes" have been running for more than six years, while a similar scheme in Liverpool has also proved successful.

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