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Greater Manchester Wheels Out Starling Bank Bikes Following Record-Breaking Sponsorship

Starling Bank has become the first sponsor of the Greater Manchester bike hire scheme; becoming the biggest commercial sponsorship deal in Transport for Greater Manchester’s history.

The cycle hire fleet will adopt a new name, Starling Bank Bikes, with all bikes bearing the new branding set to hit the streets of Manchester, Trafford and Salford in February. The sponsorship is a significant endorsement of the Bee Network, Greater Manchester’s ambition to deliver a fully integrated, London-style transport system.

The sponsorship will see the bike fleet and stands adopting a new look over the coming months. The bikes will retain the Bee Network yellow as part of the design, with the new joint scheme Starling Bank Bikes logo to be added to the bike’s frame, back wheel fender and stands. The bike hire app will also get a makeover, with a new version due to go live at the end of February.

The scheme has gained 72,000 active users since launching in November 2021, with more than 1.5million kilometres collectively ridden so far.

Starling Bank, which already employs 3,200 people in London, Cardiff and Southampton, recently chose Manchester as the home for its northern expansion owing to the city’s pool of fintech talent, and its status as the UK’s Top Digital Tech City. The digital bank’s new office in St Peter’s Square will house more than 1,000 new roles in the North.

The sponsorship deal is the latest sustainability initiative from the bank, which doesn’t have branches, doesn’t invest in fossil fuels, and offsets its carbon emissions.

Susanna Yallop, chief people officer at Starling Bank, commented: “There was no question that Manchester would be home to our next phase of growth; we’ve hired some incredible talent here and have ambitious plans for further job creation. We look forward to seeing how our investment in Starling Bank Bikes will boost the breadth of the cycle scheme, and Starling’s presence in the North.”

Reducing Greater Manchester’s carbon footprint

The bike hire scheme looks to help decarbonise Greater Manchester’s public transport network by enabling people who either don’t own a bike, or don’t have it with them, to opt for an active mode of travel. Riders who make the switch from a car journey to a hire bike could decrease their carbon footprint by as much as 83.7 per cent.

Money generated from Starling’s sponsorship will be reinvested into the scheme, supporting ongoing operational costs, such as bike and stand maintenance and future expansion.

The long-term ambition is to grow the scheme beyond its current footprint of Manchester, Trafford and Salford to other boroughs in Greater Manchester.

Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester Mayor, said: “The bikes have become part of the city’s fabric over the last two years and support our Bee Network ambition to deliver transport options that are affordable, convenient and sustainable.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to welcome Starling Bank’s employees to Manchester following the opening of their new office in St Peter’s Square – this is once again another ringing endorsement of our city region and what it has to offer for businesses, particularly those in the fintech industry.”

Starling sponsor supports scheme
Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel Commissioner for Greater Manchester
Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel Commissioner for Greater Manchester

Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel Commissioner, also added: “The bike hire scheme is a key part of building the integrated Bee Network, providing versatile and affordable journeys for people using both electric and standard cycles, across Manchester and into Trafford and Salford.

“Since its inception ridership has rapidly grown, with more than 72,000 regular users now signed up and the 1.5 million kilometres ridden milestone now reached. Average ride times are 10 to 15 minutes, making the bikes a popular choice for short local journeys.

“With big ambitions to expand the scheme, this new sponsorship from Starling Bank will provide vital resources to help realise that vision. I look forward to seeing the newly branded bikes out on the network and working with the team at Transport for Greater Manchester on the plans for bikes in new areas.”

Author

  • Tom joined The Fintech Times in 2022 as part of the operations team; later joining the editorial team as a journalist.

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