Six pilot schemes aimed at helping provide free bikes to some of the country’s poorest children have been set up by the Scottish Government.
Transport minister Graeme Dey visited St Paul’s Youth Forum in Glasgow to launch the schemes, which will test a number of different models over the next year.
Transport Scotland will then assess the findings of the six launched on Tuesday as well as others due to go live in the coming weeks to see what would work best in the rollout.
The SNP pledged to provide free bikes to children who could not afford them in the lead-up to May’s election, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also saying pilots would be launched in the first 100 days of the new government.
However, in a document detailing the plans in the early part of the new administration, the SNP said it would “(establish) pilot projects and commit to rolling the scheme out fully within 12 months”.
Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Dey said the rollout is likely to come “quickly” after the pilots are complete.
“The pilots are going to help us develop this over a year and then we’ll evaluate it, I think pretty quickly,” he said.
“I think we’ll have a good idea where we stand and we’ll get moving on it.”
He added: “But the pilots are vital here because there’s a range of different pilots in different locations; we’re going to add one for an island in the next few weeks and that will give us a clear picture of the best way, probably multiple ways in which to deliver this programme.”
The pilot schemes will test a mix of ownership, loan and subscription models in different parts of the country, including the north east of Glasgow, Angus and Forth Valley along with a number of national schemes.
The minister also said they will not be “constrained” by previous approaches when it comes to identifying those who would be in need of a bike.