By Claire Smyth
They’re great for the environment, made of rubber and available in a range of different colours. And they’re coming to Brighton.
Customised space hoppers for hire nicknamed ‘Boris Bouncers’ will soon be a familiar sight around the city when they are introduced in the summer.
It’s all part of Brighton & Hove City Council’s ‘Green Travel’ initiative designed to encourage people to leave the car at home and help reduce the city’s growing carbon footprint.
The alternative travel system is being piloted across Brighton and Hove and will operate in a similar way to the cycle hire scheme in London.
Residents and tourists alike will be able to hire the bouncy balls from depots around the city for as little as £1 for two hours.
The scheme has the support of London Mayor Boris Johnson, and Brighton MP Caroline Lucas, who launched the initiative yesterday at Brighton town hall.
Mother-of-three Sophie Hook, from Whitehawk, was at the launch and said: “I think it’s a brilliant idea. Parking in town is so awkward, and I often feel nervous cycling on the road – especially during rush hour.
“My kids already have their own space hoppers and they look like a lot of fun. Maybe it’s time I joined them.”
Space hoppers were first introduced to England in the 1960s, and have become a big hit in the Brighton area.
In 2007, around 200 people took part in the world’s longest space hopper race on Hove Lawns to raise money for charity.
A spokesperson from Brighton and Hove City Council said: “In this time of austerity, we all need to be tighter on the purse strings.
“Petrol prices are at an all-time high. And the effects of climate change can be seen worldwide. We hope this will encourage people to use their cars less, and what better way than to hop to where you need to go?”