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Nextbike ending bike share scheme in Cardiff after thousands of bikes stolen or vandalised

08 Dec 2023 4 minute read
Picture by Cardiff Council

Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter

A bike sharing scheme operating in Cardiff and the Vale is leaving the area for good after thousands of bikes were stolen or vandalised.

Nextbike took away the bike share scheme temporarily in November, 2021 after it was reported that hundreds of bikes had been stolen from it.

It has operated in Cardiff since 2018 and in Vale of Glamorgan since 2020. In that time, 3,000 bikes were stolen or vandalised, leaving only a third of the fleet available for use.

The scheme will cease to operate from January, 2024, but work to introduce a new and improved service is underway.

Cabinet member for transport and strategic planning, Cllr Dan De’Ath, said: “The Cardiff and Vale cycle-hire scheme has, despite its challenges, been an immensely popular scheme with a significant number of users and we thank its dedicated and loyal customers for their support.

“I want them to know that it is our intention to see a new cycle hire scheme return to the city as soon as possible.

“The council is optimistic that we can find a new partner. At the end of the day, it’s clear there is an appetite and a desire for this type of scheme evidenced by the high user numbers.

“We now need to find a way, using the latest technology, which will make it harder for people intent on vandalising or stealing bikes to get away with their actions.”

The Nextbike contract was due to end in early 2025 and Cardiff Council had already started work on what a new, and updated scheme, might look like.

Feasibility study

A feasibility study is underway which will provide answers on the best way forward for both Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan councils.

This study will look at schemes across the globe, understand improvements in security, and the latest technology, while reviewing a variety of suppliers and different operating and sponsorship models.

Cllr De’Ath said the local authority would also look at available grant funding.

Vale of Glamorgan Council cabinet member for sustainable places, Cllr Bronwen Brooks, said: “I’m disappointed that this joint scheme is no longer viable following a high level of vandalism.

“It has proven popular in the Vale and was an important part of the council’s Project Zero initiative to become carbon neutral by 2030.

“Promoting active forms of travel is central to that goal and we are committed to offering opportunities for residents to cycle, particularly when there is such significant demand for this type of transport.

“The council will continue to operate the Brompton Bike hire system in Llantwit Major and is currently exploring options to replace the Nextbike scheme.”

The scheme in Cardiff and the Vale has been Nextbike’s most successful in the UK in terms of usage, with two million rentals across both counties during its lifespan.

However, there have always been regular incidents of vandalism and theft in Cardiff.

Cardiff Castle

A pile of Nextbikes was left outside Cardiff Castle after the operator announced that it was temporarily pulling the scheme from the city.

It was also reported at the time that 260 bikes had to be thrown away due to damage caused by vandalism.

A bike sharing scheme operated by Nextbike returned to Cardiff in January, 2022.

Numerous customers of the OVO bike share scheme have since reported difficulties in gaining access to a bike, and bike stations across the city were frequently found to be empty.

Regional operations manager at Nextbike by TIER, Jess Strangward, said: “It is sad that we have had to take the decision to close the Cardiff service as I know it was well used and liked by residents.

“Unfortunately, the rate of vandalism this year meant it was unfeasible for us to continue and offer a good service.

“We know the news will be disappointing to regular users and we can only apologise for that.

“We want to thank Cardiff and Vale Council, their residents, as well as our many partners for their support over the past five years.”

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6 months ago

Something typical about the UK when we do this.

6 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

Oh yes,when you live in other European countries, you learn the lack of respect at home.

6 months ago

I can’t believe the scumbags that have ruined this for everyone, such sad news. What’s going on with our society!

Steven Howard
Steven Howard
6 months ago

Under funding of sports and social for the youth bad parenting in social housing areas especially where money is short pushes a percentage to theft crime u name it. Due to greedy governments not investing enough in our next generation kids bringing up kids. Imagine the money used for 20 miles an hour disaster had been put into giving the youth of Cardiff better prospects and help with training learning clubs and activities fun free activities. Costs for policing would go down crime would go down the city would be safer Cardiff and UK is a disgrace compared to most… Read more »

6 months ago
Reply to  Steven Howard

I’d probably be more inclined to say, “imagine if the quarter of a billion spent on the Rwanda scheme was used for youth services” but each to their own.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
6 months ago
Reply to  Steven Howard

Care to elaborate a little more with your unsubstantiated prejudices and stereotyping of those who live in social housing and the poor? There is also no reason why we cannot have both safer streets, (20mph default speed limit in built up areas) and decent social opportunities for youth. The two are not mutually exclusive. Your reference to ‘kids bringing up kids’ is perhaps the best indicator of how much you actually are out of touch. Teenage pregnancy is a fraction of what it was in the bad old days of the 1990s, and rather than the numbers of teenage pregnancies… Read more »

6 months ago

Completely and utterly predictable. You don’t have to walk very far down any street in Wales to realise that some in our society are out of control.and our Government has it’s head in the sand.

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