Economic case for bike share

Responsibility for investment in transport has been devolved to the Local Enterprise Partnerships, the focus of these bodies is on regional economic development.  This document is aimed at supporting Local Enterprise Partnerships, local authorities and bike share organisations applying for funding, to demonstrate the contribution that public bike share can make to economic vibrancy and sustainable mobility.


Experience shows that bike share systems provide both residents and visitors access to work, business opportunities, services, leisure activities, and tourist destinations. The flexible nature of public bike share stimulates economic growth whilst reducing congestion, pollution and land take of motorised travel:

The research summarised in the Economic case for bike share document comes from studies carried out by the European Cycling Federation, Bikeplus, and various academic sources, into the impacts of public bike share and cycling in general.

Commercial and retailing activity

  • 70% of businesses reported a positive impact on their neighbourhood[i] after launch;
  • 20% of businesses and 23% of users reported a direct impact of spending from bike share[ii], Cyclists spend more money in city centres that those travelling by car[iii];
  • A study reported an extra spend of US$1.20/user/week in proximity of bike share stations[iv];
  • Visiting cyclist spends on average £25 / day locally compared to a car borne visitor’s £7.30, as cyclists can’t always carry what they need with them and feel hungrier from exercising[v];
  • Bike share draws visitors to tourist attractions through a fun, flexible, fast and affordable travel mode. E.g. leisure cycling on Liverpool’s waterfront and Belfast Titanic quarter
  • 16% reported spending in new locations due to accessibility of a new bike share station;
  • A study in Bristol showed that retailers overestimated the share of car-drivers among their customers by almost 100%: In a survey, they stated that 41% of costumers would come by car, while the actual value was only at 22%. For cycling, it was the opposite: Shopkeepers estimated the share of cyclists among their customers at 6%, while the actual share was 10%. Shopkeepers also overestimated the distances customers would travel to their shops: They thought that only 12% of clients would live less than half a mile from the shop, while the real value was 42%[vi];
  • London’s scheme has enhanced the public realm through increased lighting and security;
  • There is a correlation between properties located close to a bike share having an increased value[vii].

Bike share constitutes, complements and extends existing public transport

  • A network of bike share docking stations offer a flexible mode of transport available to the public for commuting, business and leisure trips. Users rate bike share high for convenience, 59% indicated this was their main reason for choosing to use a shared bicycle[viii]. Traditional public transport is often limited to corridors which can make cross-city journeys complicated and lengthy.
  • Bike share is complementary to public transport, it is often used as the first and last mile to add flexibility and convenience to journeys. This multi-modal package then becomes, for some, a more viable alternative to the car supporting sustainable, healthy travel:
    • 20% of UK bike share users reported using it in conjunction with the bus
    • 40% illustrated indicated using bike share with the train
    • 50% of commuting trips included a train journey
  • Case study: Reading EasyGo card, Bike share is integrating with smart card technology in Reading, offering bike share on the same platform as Reading buses and Co-wheels car club.
  • Bike share ridership in schemes outside of London grew by 48% in 2016[ix]

Bike share, bike sales and cycle hire

  • Bike share introduces people to cycling and complements people riding their own bike, with an increase in sales of bikes, 9% of respondents to the UK survey stated they purchased a bike[x]
  • Schemes are growing the market of cycling, 13% of bike share riders started cycling as a result of using a scheme outside of London. The figure for London’s Santander Cycles is 64% of casual riders and 46% of members stated it was their reason for starting to cycle, indicating how bike share can increase the market for businesses offering cycling products [xi]
  • Bike share co-exists with existing traditional cycle hire market, the latter catering to a market who may need support and advice. E.g. Oxford – Pricing is aimed at different markets with different bikes, Oxonbikes (per hour and annual memberships predominately for commuters and business travel) and Bainton Bikes (day rates for tourist) offering different types of bike co-exist.

Business and employment opportunities

  • Hourbike in Brighton have procured the services of a local bike shop to conduct the maintenance
  • Bike share operator Hourbike is creating local employment opportunities in Liverpool with Peloton to provide maintenance support for Citybike. This involves training adult ex-offenders to Level II Cytec
  • Bike share membership is a low cost, flexible, healthy support mechanism for those without work to help them access job opportunities

Congestion reduction time savings

  • Congestion time savings from reducing motorised traffic, 22% of bike share riders said they previously travelled by car or taxi
  • Bike share supports new developments or allows sites to add new jobs without creating additional pressure on parking spaces or local roads
  • Washington DC Capitol bike share has saved its residents hundreds of millions of dollars in time savings by cutting congestion by 4%[xii]

Health benefits and economic savings

  • The health benefits of attracting new cyclist have been estimated as £370 per cyclist pa[xiii]
  • Cyclists have increase productivity, are healthier and take less time off[xiv]
  • Bike share is safer than personal bikes[xv], indicating costs savings through reduced road traffic incidents

Funding Sources

Local Enterprise Partnerships have responsibility for regional transport investment. There are two examples of PBS funding:

  • Brighton – Coast 2 Capital awarded £1.16m of funding to cover the £1.45m capital costs in partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council delivering 439 bikes at 50 stations. The council’s Local Transport Plan will fund the remaining £290,000 for the total £1.45 million infrastructure and start-up costs.
  • Derby – D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership have supported Derby City Council’s bike share scheme of around 115 bikes and 15 stations with £480,000 towards capitals costs. The University of Derby has indicated revenue support for 3 years in return for 6 docking stations, further locations include the railway station, the city centre and key employer sites which were identified in the Systra and Transport Initiatives feasibility study.Central government:
  • Department for Transport Access Fund: local authorities have been allocated their funding from 2017 to 2020 for sustainable transport. There is the potential for underspend opportunities to expand schemes and support revenue costs.Developing University partnerships:
  • Nextbike Bath have partnered with Bath Spa University who support the service at a value of £1 per each staff and student. The scheme was launched with LSTF funding by the Council, it has become financially independent of state revenue funding after Nextbike negotiations with the University.
  • OXONBIKE, Oxford is supported by a partnership between Hourbike, University of Oxford and Oxford University Hospitals. The Council withdrew support after LSTF funding ended, the new partners saw the value in the service for their staff and have backed the expansion of the scheme and the introduction of a mixed fleet of conventional and electric bikes.
  • Sheffield Bycycle – funded through the University of Sheffield parking levy


[i] Buehler, R. & Hamre, A. (2014). Economic Benefits of Capital Bikeshare: A Focus on Users and Businesses. Mid-Atlantic Universities Transportation Centre, U.S. [Online]

[ii] Buehler, R. & Hamre, A. (2014). Economic Benefits of Capital Bikeshare: A Focus on Users and Businesses.

iii ECF Study:

[iv] Buehler, R. & Hamre, A. (2014). Economic Benefits of Capital Bikeshare: A Focus on Users and Businesses. Mid-Atlantic Universities Transportation Centre, U.S. [Online]

[v] ECF Study:

[vi] ECF Study:

[vii] El-Geneidy, A, van Lierop, D, Wasfi, R (2016)  Do people value bicycle sharing? A multilevel longitudinal analysis capturing the impact of bicycle sharing on residential sales in Montreal, Canada’, Transport Policy.

[viii] Bikeplus UK Bike Share Users Survey 2016:

[ix] Bikeplus operator metrics 2016

[x] Bikeplus & Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds: UK Bike Share Users Survey 2016:

[xi] Bikeplus & Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds: UK Bike Share Users Survey 2016:

[xii] Hamilton, T & Wichman, C. 2016 Bicycle Infrastructure and Traffic Congestion. [ONLINE]

[xiii] DFT guidance for 2016/17 on 2010 prices

[xiv] Absenteeism is reduced by 0.4 days off per year by those who cycle (or walk) (DfT)

[xv] Graves et al. 2014. Public Bicycle Share Programs and Head Injuries. American Journal of Public Health.

Economic case for bike share

Download document for print

Economic case for bike share (PDF)

Bikeplus is the UK representative body for bike sharing which aims to optimise the benefits of cycling by supporting the emergence of the effective widespread availability of pooled bikes.

About bike share


Shared Electric Bike Programme


Bike share map


Bikeplus Forum Network


UK Public Bike Share Stats

Locations: 26 locations

Total number of bikes: 22,412

Users: 626,136 users (unique members & casual users)

Average trips per day in UK: 47,710 per day

Available data from quarter ending December 2017

Operators & suppliers


Bike & Go

Brompton Bike Hire

Donkey Republic 

Hourbike  (Bikeplus Accredited)

Intelligent Transport Services (Bikeplus Accredited)

Mobike (Bikeplus Accredited)

Nextbike (Bikeplus Accredited)


Ofo (Bikeplus Accredited)

Ride-on (Provisional Bikeplus Accreditation)

Serco (Bikeplus Accredited)


Social Bicycles


Urbo (Bikeplus Accredited)

Useful links