Edinburgh cycle hire scheme: Will Glasgow firm ride to our rescue? – Steve Cardownie

The news is that Scotland’s biggest cycle hire scheme operator might be interested in assisting Edinburgh City Council as it looks to work in tandem with a new partner to replace Serco, which has announced that it will not continue to operate the existing bike hire scheme beyond next month.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 12:30 pm
The Edinburgh cycle hire scheme proved popular but has been plagued by costly vandalism (Picture: Greg Macvean)

Nextbike, which has overseen a larger bike hire scheme in Glasgow, with nearly 1,000 bikes in operation throughout the city since 2014, has already put the wheels in motion and could ride to Edinburgh’s rescue.

Saddled with repairs which saw one in four of Edinburgh’s bikes out of commission every week due to a combination of vandalism, wear and tear, and weather, Serco is obviously tired of this situation and decided to call it a day.

Nextbike had unsuccessfully bid for the original Edinburgh contract but that has not put the company off from trying again.

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A spokesperson said: “It’s sad to see that the future of Edinburgh’s bike share scheme is in doubt. Bike share brings numerous benefits to communities, including providing affordable, sustainable transport options, alongside mental and physical health benefits that cycling brings. We’re always looking for new cities across the UK to expand our network and we know from the success of our well-established Glasgow scheme that Scotland loves cycling.”

Edinburgh Council must be cognisant of Nextbike’s track record of operating a chain of such schemes and, given that the pressure has been cranked up, frame an appropriate new offer – and not just peddle the previous scheme.

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