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Forget Boris, meet Beryl - Norwich's new bike sharing scheme revealed

PUBLISHED: 14:23 04 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:47 05 October 2019

One of the new Beryl bikes which will be launched in the Norwich in spring 2020. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

One of the new Beryl bikes which will be launched in the Norwich in spring 2020. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

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A new bike share scheme is coming to Norwich.

From left to right: Councillor Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council, Phil Ellis, CEO of Beryl, Councillor Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council, with a new Beryl bike. Picture: Lauren De Boise.From left to right: Councillor Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council, Phil Ellis, CEO of Beryl, Councillor Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council, with a new Beryl bike. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

Just over a year since Ofo's distinctive yellow bikes disappeared from the streets of Norwich, it has been announced a new scheme is on its way to the city.

From March 2020, the Beryl initiative will see as many as 600 manual and electric bikes available to hire throughout the city centre and surrounding area.

Working much in the same way as Ofo bikes did, cyclists will be able to pick up a Beryl bike from a number of allocated parking bays dotted around the city by downloading the Beryl app to locate and unlock the bikes.

The bikes will cost £1 to unlock and will charge riders 5p per minute. Minutes will also be able to be bought in bundles starting at 100 minutes for £5.

One of the new Beryl bikes which will be launched in the city in spring 2020. Picture: Lauren De Boise.One of the new Beryl bikes which will be launched in the city in spring 2020. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

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To prevent the bikes from going missing or ending up in places they shouldn't, users will be encouraged to return the bikes to the allocated bays or risk paying a penalty charge of up to £5.

The bikes are also fitted with tech which allows Beryl to keep track of exactly where in the city the bikes.

The scheme is being brought to the city by Transport for Norwich as part of a series of projects funded through central government's Transforming Cities Fund.

Phil Ellis, CEO of Beryl, with one of the new Beryl bikes which will be launched in the Norwich in spring 2020. Picture: Lauren De Boise.Phil Ellis, CEO of Beryl, with one of the new Beryl bikes which will be launched in the Norwich in spring 2020. Picture: Lauren De Boise.

Trying one of the bikes out for himself, Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, said: "The bikes feel very stable, the gearing is great, it doesn't require any effort and it feels light and I like the wireless access and I like the fact that you can leave it in one of the designated areas."

When asked how the scheme would differ from Ofo, Mr Stonard said: "The main difference is that the previous scheme was run by Ofo and they were in charge of it, we had an agreement with them but it was a gentleman's agreement, it wasn't binding.

"This is a partnership arrangement between he county the city and the company so we are doing it and planning it together, we're involving the public in deciding where the hubs should go, it's a partnership arrangement and we're much more in control of it."

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council's chair of Transforming Cities Joint Committee, added: "Norwich is one of the country's leading cycling cities so it's fantastic that we're able to provide a new bike share service through our latest round of funding."

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