You’ll soon be able to pay for London’s Santander Cycles by mobile

TfL is trying to compete with Lime bikes with new mobile payments

India Lawrence
Written by
India Lawrence
Contributing writer
Santander bikes
Photo: Shutterstock

For a while, Santander Cycles (FKA ‘Boris bikes’) were the main mode of easy-to-use bikes for hire in London. That was until Lime bikes came onto the scene, which as well as being incredibly meme-able, had electronic motors which meant you could cycle pretty fast for next to no effort. 

Now, TfL is trying to keep up with Lime bikes. Not only did Santander Cycles add motors (way back in 2022), but you’ll soon be able to pay for them with mobile payments. 

At the moment, you have to pay for TfL bikes at a screen in a terminal next to the bikes, but in autumn cyclists will be able to pay for Santander Cycles through a new app. Welcome to 2024, TfL. 

This move comes from TfL in a big to stop the declining number of Santander bike hires. In 2021/22 bike hire numbers peaked at 11.8 million, but since then they’ve been going down. In 2022/23 there were 8.5 million TfL bike hires.  

According to the Travel in London report from TfL, e-bikes have become a lot more popular than regular pedal bikes, which has led to TfL planning to increase the size of its e-bike fleet. The report said that on average, e-bikes are hired 3.9 times per day per bike, almost double that of the classic bike at 2.2 times per day per bike.

Why is this London council banning e-bikes being abandoned on pavements?

And why do Lime bikes clack? Inside the world of stolen e-bikes.  

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