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London Cycle Hire

The London Cycle Hire Scheme (LCHS) was established in 2010 and provides Londoners and visitors with the opportunity to rent one of 12,300 bikes across 800 Stations and 21,000 Docking Points.

From 2010 to 2017 Serco designed, built and operated the first generation of the scheme. Our role included: 

  • Bike distribution and supply 
  • Bike and dock maintenance 
  • Contact Centre 
  • IT
  • Billing and Finance support  

We achieved and delivered operational excellence using data and analysis to drive the planning, distribution and redistribution of bikes to meet user demands throughout the day.  

Following this success, in 2017 we were re-awarded the contract and continue to be responsible for: 

  • Bike distribution and supply 
  • Bike and dock maintenance 
  • Operations Centre  
  • Design, build and delivery of changes. 

As part of our contract extension, we were the first scheme in the UK to design and launch a customer App. The app made cycle hire even easier than before. Via the app customers can find their nearest docking station, check bike availability and even hire without needing to visit the terminal.

Interesting facts

In 2017, with our contract renewed, we were trusted to take the contract through to its next period of growth. We drew on the learnings from the first seven years of operation and proposed a new generation of cycle designed in conjunction with our bike manufacturing partner the UK based Pashley Cycles.  

We improved the robustness of the design and also improved the whole life cost through designing in features that eased the maintenance effort enabling on street repair, and workshop down time. to improve the availability of bikes.  

In March 2021 the scheme passed 100 million hires, a signification milestone in the scheme’s 10-year history. This equates to more than 10 rides for every Londoner and follows record-breaking hires in February. 

In 2020, despite a reduction in journeys across London due to the pandemic, hire numbers exceeded those of the previous year by around 6,000 hires. Infact, 2020 also saw 12 of the top 15 busiest days in the scheme's history, demonstrating that the scheme played an even more crucial role in keeping London moving during the coronavirus pandemic as more people have chosen cycling for both exercise and transport. 

A Santander London Cycle Hire bike

Technical advancement and innovation

We have been at the forefront of technical advancement and innovation which we believe is key for the continue development of London Cycle Hire and future high quality urban mobility operations.  

In 2017 we introduced the Blaze Laserlight as a key safety improving feature that significantly increases the visibility of the bike when on the move amongst road traffic in low light conditions.  

We also introduced an advanced and market leading asset management platform which has enabled greater control of stock through integration with SAP, analytics and reporting studio for enhancing forecasting capabilities. 

Our tailored logistics (distribution, reactive and preventative maintenance) and scheduling tool using AI technology was a finalist in the IBM Beacon Awards for innovation.  

App success

We launched a customer app which is now used by more than 70,000 people enabling users to pre-book, skip past the docking station terminal, and get on their bike quicker.  


In 2016 we managed the complex process of rebranding the scheme, including the introduction of new livery for more than 11,500 bikes and 740 docking stations when Santander became the new sponsor for the scheme.