Swansea and London Borough of Hillingdon will see the arrival of new cycle hire schemes this spring, after Swansea University and Brunel University London won the Santander Cycles University Challenge. The schemes, which will be open to students, residents and visitors alike, have been awarded to the two universities after they came top in a nationwide competition.
After reaching the final shortlist of five from the initial 23 entrants1, the universities ran month-long crowdfunding-led campaigns to see which institution could raise the most money to cover the on-going running costs of their proposed scheme. Swansea University and Brunel University London won the competition, respectively raising 188% and 175% of their fundraising target. They will now receive the capital costs for their schemes from Santander, which will cover the initial £100,000 investment in a number of docking stations, 50 bikes and the technology required to operate the scheme.
Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK, said: “We congratulate Swansea University and Brunel University London for winning against such tough competition. The standard of entries was incredibly high and the level of commitment from all the finalists throughout the challenge, and in particular during the crowdfunding phase, was exceptional. Most importantly, the winners were able to demonstrate the support from those who will benefit most from the scheme – their own communities. This has been a unique element of this challenge, a pioneering approach, which we hope will ultimately contribute to its long-term success. We look forward to working with both institutions over the coming months to get the cycle schemes ready for launch.”
Initially Swansea’s Santander Cycles scheme will include 50 bikes with five docking stations located along the city’s main cycle path. Docking stations will be located at Singleton Park Campus, the Civic Centre, the National Waterfront Museum, Fabian Way Park and Ride and the Bay Campus. The university has over 18,000 students who will benefit from the scheme, but the initiative has also proven extremely popular amongst city businesses and residents, with large numbers pledging their support during the crowdfunding campaign.
Professor Richard B Davies, Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University said: “Winning the Santander Cycles University Challenge demonstrates the ambition and ‘can do’ attitude of Swansea University. We have had overwhelming support for the campaign, not just from the university community, but also from across the City and beyond. The level of support we have had throughout the entire process from Santander, Crowdfunder and Nextbike has been outstanding, and we’re very much looking forward to continuing this relationship as we work towards the launch of the scheme this Spring.”
Brunel’s Santander Cycles scheme will include eight docking stations and 50 bikes installed at several locations around Hillingdon, including Uxbridge underground station, Hillingdon Hospital, and various sites across the university campus. Extensive support for the scheme came from across the London Borough of Hillingdon which, along with over 14,000 students at the university, will benefit from the new initiative.
Professor Julia Buckingham, Vice Chancellor and President of Brunel, said: “The sheer amount pledged, which is significantly more than was originally asked for, goes to show just how enthusiastic Brunel’s students, staff and local partners are for our own bike scheme. I am so proud of everyone involved in making this a reality, and I can’t wait to see our fleet of ‘Brunel Bikes’ out on the streets of Hillingdon, serving a healthier and happier community.”
The competition received entries from across the country, with universities looking to develop sustainable transport schemes around their campuses. In the initial phase of the competition, the university teams benefited from expert consultancy allowing them to design bike schemes to meet their specific needs. They received support from Santander and its cycle partner; Nextbike, which runs more than 130 schemes worldwide.
The shortlisted universities (The University of Birmingham, Brunel University London, the University of Portsmouth, the University of Surrey and Swansea University) also benefitted from advice from Crowdfunder, the UK’s leading crowdfunding platform, on how to raise funds to cover the on-going operating costs.
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Notes to Editors
1 - The competition was open to 69 of the 81 UK University partners as it excluded those already covered by an existing cycle scheme. The universities which took part were: Northumbria, Newcastle, Lancaster, Leicester, Essex, Swansea, Leeds, Chester, Bath Spa, Portsmouth, East Anglia, Cardiff Metropolitan, St. Andrews, Cranfield, Royal Holloway, Nottingham, York, Kent, Brunel London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Plymouth, and Surrey.
Santander Cycles now covers 100 square kilometres of London, making it the second largest cycle hire scheme in Europe. Since launching in July 2010, more than 63 million journeys have been made, with last year being the most successful year in the scheme’s history, with over 10.3 million hires. So far in 2017, the scheme has already reached 9.9 million hires of which 2.25 million have been made through the Santander Cycles app. Among the improvements made to the popular scheme last year were the launch of the new advanced generation Santander Cycles with smart technology, the introduction of Blaze Laserlights to all 12,000 bikes as well as more Cycles and docking stations, including at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and more recently Brixton.
Santander Universities UK
Santander, through its Santander Universities division, maintains partnerships with close to 1,200 academic institutions in 20 countries. Santander Universities was introduced in the UK in 2007 and the bank is already collaborating with 83 British Universities and Higher Education Institutions, with agreements focused on promoting international exchange, entrepreneurial activities and the mobility of students and researchers within the network.
Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 30 June 2017, the bank serves around 14 million active customers with c19,500 employees and operates through 826 branches (which includes 61 university branches) and 65 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.
Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas, and is among the world’s top banks by market capitalization. At the end of June 2017, Banco Santander had EUR 1.65 trillion in managed funds, 131 million customers, 13,800 branches and 200,000 employees. Banco Santander made attributable profit of EUR 3.6 billion in the first half of 2017, an increase of 24% compared to the same period last year.
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