Luton Council and Thameslink launch 'Bikes for Bedfordshire Health Heroes'

Staff at Bedfordshire hospitals could soon be travelling to work on free bicycles

Abandoned bicycles on the Thameslink network will be restored and offered to Bedfordshire hospital workers by Luton Council.

Thirty key workers at Bedfordshire hospitals could soon be travelling to work on free bicycles, thanks to a partnership between Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Luton Borough Council.

The two organisations are each donating the 15 machines in the best condition from their stocks of abandoned bikes, the aim is to help hospital staff get to and from work, or to and from their train stations, while maintaining social distancing and getting some valuable extra exercise.

GTR bikes at Luton

The 'Bikes for Bedfordshire Heroes' project is one of a series of activities being run by Govia Thameslink to support staff, passengers and local communities during this challenging time.

GTR’s Letchworth distribution centre delivered the rail company’s 15 machines to Luton’s bike recycling team this week.

Through its long-established recycling scheme the council will ensure the bikes are in full, safe working order, offer them to Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, and deliver them for staff who want to take advantage.

Bedford Borough Council are arranging the giveaway for Bedford Hospital staff through their contacts and have also offered their time to help distribute the bikes.

GTR have a steady stream of bikes abandoned at stations, and those that are in too good a condition to scrap are normally sold for local charities at periodic auctions, but the lock-down owing to the coronavirus pandemic has closed this outlet.

Cllr Paul Castleman, Luton Council’s portfolio holder responsible for transport, said: “We all greatly appreciate the invaluable work the NHS staff are doing at this particularly difficult time and hope this project will benefit them as they travel to work and back.

“We are happy to be working with GTR to deliver this recycling scheme and our sustainable travel team will ensure the bikes are fully refurbished and roadworthy for hospital staff to use.”

Tom Moran, Managing Director for Thameslink and Great Northern, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Luton Council to support Bedfordshire hospital staff at this challenging time.

"As key workers ourselves, we’re proud to be supporting all the heroes who still need to travel to get to work.

“Much thanks are due to the council for getting all the bikes in good working order, and to Bedford Borough Council for helping with deliveries.

"I’d also like to thank the Bedford-St Albans Community Rail Partnership for their help in setting up this cooperative project.”

Employees at Bedfordshire hospitals who are interested in obtaining a bike should contact the Luton Bike Recycling Scheme via [email protected]