The Brighton and Hove “BTN BikeShare” operation will pause operations from the 31st December this year to allow a rollout of a brand new fleet next year.
The existing fleet of bicycles are made up of two generations of bicycle. The first generation launched in 2017 and the second generation used in 2019 onwards. All of the bicycles are standard non-electric bicycles, which have a console on the rear where the user can unlock the bicycle as well as housing the locking mechanism. The bicycles are tracked by GPS units, but uses Vodaphone’s 3G network to communicate back to the servers.
The existing fleet has a range of issues, many of the bicycles are heavily warn with some showing signs of rusting, however a more prevalent issue is that they use Vodaphone’s 3G network which is slowly being reduced in the area which is causing issues, also Vodaphone is planning on turning off their remaining 3G network in Spring 2023 which would require bicycles switched to another network or upgraded before then to continue functioning.
A decision has been taken to replace the entire fleet with new bicycles. The fleet will be made up of 312 non-electric bicycles and 468 e-bikes to make up a total of 780 bicycles, which is an increase of 180 from the previous 600 bikes. This will require all of the existing bicycles to be removed first, with the existing fleet to start to be removed on the 19th December and all to be removed by the 31st December.
Its unclear on the timeline for the new fleet to become operational. But once it does a new pricing scheme will be introduced. There will also be an opportunity for neighbouring authorities to be extended into the scheme.