The UK’s first ever SMART cycle hub has been officially opened on Horne Lane, Bedford.
The new unit features an app-based locking system that can be managed by a smartphone or tablet.
It uses secure encrypted Bluetooth and ‘Near Field Communications’ (NFC) to communicate between your phone and shelter, without needing internet access.
Mayor Dave Hodgson opened the hub with a ribbon cutting. He said: “Safer cycle parking is a priority for cyclists and this new unit is a real asset to our town centre.
“Cyclists will still need to lock their bikes in the shelter, but this added security will help to keep bikes safer.”
The updated bike facilities are part of Bedford Borough’s largest ever investment in cycling infrastructure. Funding came from the government’s £1m Town Deal Accelerator fund.
Over 250 people have already signed up and it has been used over 300 times since opening this summer.
The new shelter is in the same place as the old bike racks by Harpur Square.
The mayor said: “This is just one in a number of different projects across our town centre; with the High Street works to reduce traffic in the town, and the Town Deal and Heritage Action Zone bringing additional investment and improvements.”
Another project includes the addition of 27 cycle routes to the town centre and a circular route around the town.
To access the shelter, download the ‘Okey Access’ app and email Sustainable.Transport@bedford.gov.uk with your full name, address and phone number.
Details will then be sent on how to access the unit.