Headington saddles up for Oxonbike cycle hire scheme

Oxfordshire County Council is piloting a 30-bike project, linking Thornhill Park and Ride with major employers in the area. The Oxonbike project aims to reduce the number of short car journeys between hospital sites and university campuses.

Users can pick up the bicycles for short-term hire in Headington – including travel between hospital or university sites. Bikes will be located at:

  • Thornhill Park and Ride
  • The John Radcliffe Hospital
  • London Road
  • University of Oxford Old Road campus
  • Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre
  • Churchill Hospital.
  • Oxford Brookes’ Gypsy Lane site (work on this site is in progress and will be completed shortly)

The two-year, £150,000 pilot project is part of the expansion of Thornhill, funded through the council’s successful bid to the Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund. The scheme was put forward following concerns from residents and employers about increased congestion in Headington.

Cycle hire operator Grand Scheme Bike Share has been appointed to run the project, following a tendering process. The company is behind the successful ScratchBikes scheme in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and is also delivering other schemes across the UK and Ireland.

Great new option

Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport David Nimmo Smith said: “As a cyclist myself, I know it’s a hugely beneficial form of transport and a great option for getting to work. I hope the bicycles prove to be really popular with Headington commuters.

“Obviously this is a relatively small pilot project, but we want to test its viability and see what potential there may be for a larger scheme serving other parts of Oxford in the future. It will certainly be interesting to see how the bikes are received and we’ll be keeping an eye on how things go during the trial period.”

Rob Grisdale, CEO of Grand Scheme said: "We're delighted to introduce our brand new BYKER technology to Headington. I hope the Oxonbike scheme will make it much easier for commuters to choose to park and ride, and in doing so making Headington a more peaceful place. With the scheme being almost free to use, I am confident it will."

Key elements of the pilot cycle hire scheme

  • The scheme is a pilot project and will operate for two years.
  • Users will have the option of hiring cycles at the Park and Ride site for travel to employment sites in Headington – but not elsewhere in the city.
  • The project is part of the council’s successful LSTF bid, which is also funding the expansion of the Park and Ride site at Thornhill and other related projects aimed at supporting economic growth and development in Oxford by improving access by non-car modes of transport to the city centre and Headington area from the east.
  • Users will need to register to use the scheme, but the scheme will be low cost, with a free initial period of use.
  • The scheme is intended for short journeys, so to encourage users, cost for a 30-minute hire is free once a registration fee of £1 has been paid.
  • The technology needed to operate the bikes is built into the cycles. The bikes will be placed at the major employment sites and at the shops in Headington, as well as at the Park and Ride site.
  • The council is working closely with the hospitals and universities in Headington – which are very supportive of the project.


  • Registration = £1
  • Up to 30 mins = Free
  • 0.5 to 1 hour = £1
  • 1 to 2 hours = £2.50
  • 2 to 3 hours = £7.50
  • 3 to 6 hours = £15
  • 6 to 24 hours = £30

For those registered, usage charges will be debited from their credit or debit card at the end of each month. More detail will soon be available at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/oxonbike

Alongside the hire scheme, the council is upgrading the footpath to a shared use facility between the Park and Ride site and the Hamburger roundabout on the south side of the A40. There will be a new location at the Park and Ride site for hire and privately-owned cycles, and a new entrance/exit for cyclists.