'Boris Bikes' ride into Swansea after university win 🚴
A Boris-style transport revolution is coming to Swansea. Source: Shutterstock

A fleet of “Boris Bikes” – the Santander Cycles public bicycle hire scheme in London named after then-mayor Boris Johnson – will soon be available in Welsh city Swansea after its university won a UK-wide race to win the Santander Cycles University Challenge.

Swansea University beat four other competing universities in crowdfunding towards a cycle scheme in their area by raising a whopping GBP100,000 and with 50 percent more pledges than nearest rival Brunel University London, according to the BBC.

The victory shows the university’s “boldness, ambition, and ‘can do’ attitude”, says Swansea University vice-chancellor Richard B. Davies, as quoted by Wales Online.

“However, we have had overwhelming support for the campaign, not just from the university community, but also from across the city and beyond. Businesses and individuals alike have demonstrated how much appetite there is here in Swansea for bringing a bike-share hire scheme to our city,” he said.

Five university finalists with the best Santander Cycles hire scheme were shortlisted in May to go through the final crowdfunding stage of the competition. Swansea surpassed its original target of GBP53,178 after 612 people pledged their support during the campaign to win the upfront costs for a cycle hire scheme on their campus worth over GBP100,000.

The new cycle hire scheme will kick off likely in Spring 2018 with 50 bikes located along the city’s main cycle path, Singleton Park Campus, the Civic Centre, the National Waterfront Museum, Fabian Way Park and Ride and the Bay Campus. The university will team up with the local council to develop this initiative.

The bikes were heralded as a “cycling and walking transformation in London” by Johnson’s predecessor, Ken Livingstone, who is credited for coming up with the idea of making thousands of bikes available to use for temporary periods in central London. 

The BBC notes there are now 11,500 bikes, 800 docking stations and up to one million users each month. Other UK cities, such as Manchester, has launched similar initiatives. Now, thanks to its university, it’s Swansea’s turn.

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