Cycle All Day For £3, As Santander Cycles Reintroduces Day Pass

By M@
Cycle All Day For £3, As Santander Cycles Reintroduces Day Pass
Santander e-bikes
Image: Matt Brown

TfL's cycle hire scheme just got more affordable... if you're prepared to change bikes.

Transport for London just announced the return of a Day Pass for its Santander Cycles. For £3, you can hire as many bikes as you like over the course of a day. The one (slightly annoying) caveat is that you only get 30 minutes max with each hire. You'll need to dock and rehire to continue longer journeys.

Currently, it costs £1.65 to hire a bike for 30 minutes. After that, every additional half hour costs another £1.65. So even if you're only planning two short hops (e.g. a daily two-way commute), you're going to pay £3.30. The Day Pass is already a saving.

Those who want to hire the bikes for longer — perhaps as a way to explore the backstreets of London at the weekend — can now do so for a much lower overall fee. That said, it's less than two years since we could last buy a day pass, and then it only cost £2. So this is really a more expensive return to the old way of doing things.

The new Day Pass will be available from Sunday 3 March 2024. Crucially, the 'Day' part refers to a 24-hour period and not the calendar day, meaning you can hire bikes on, say, a Saturday afternoon and then continue to hire further bikes on the Sunday morning at no additional cost. If you stray beyond the 30 minute window on any given hire, you'll be charged an additional £1.65.

TfL has simultaneously announced a boost to its e-bike offering. An additional 1,400 e-bikes will soon reinforce its fleet (which currently numbers just 600). These cost £3.30 per half hour, or you can take them for a spin for just £1 per half hour if you have a Day Pass.

A Santander e-Bike with a person stood behind
One of the e-Bikes, about to get a huge boost in numbers. Image courtesy of TfL

It should be noted that regular users of both bikes and e-bikes will get the best rate through joining the cycle hire membership scheme. This costs £20 per month (and isn't going up). So if you're going to make 13 trips in a 30-day period, then membership makes better financial sense. You also get up to 60 minutes on any given bike. Annual memberships are also available.

The return of the Day Pass comes at a time of wavering enthusiasm for the scheme. General ridership numbers have fallen dramatically over the past year, thanks greater competition and cost increases (and possibly a wet summer). At the same time, membership hires were up, at a record-breaking 6.75 million in 2023. It's hoped that the reintroduction of a Day Pass will encourage a few more of us to get on their bikes.

Last Updated 22 January 2024

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