Glasgow bike hire set to expand to meet user demand

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nextbike has expanded from 20 bikes in Leipzig, Germany, to more 40,000 bikes across four continents

A bike share scheme in Glasgow looks set to more than double in size in response to demands for more stations from users, says the city council.
The nextbike scheme was launched just before the Commonwealth Games in 2014 with 400 bikes located at 31 hire stations. Plans are in place to expand it to 900 bikes at 100 stations before the end of this year.

Glasgow City Council leader Frank McAveety says: “The scheme has been a phenomenal success since it was launched and the people of Glasgow and surrounding areas really have embraced it. “The bikes are being seen in use all over the city and are very popular with commuters, students, businesses and visitors. It is clear there is a real appetite for the cycle hire scheme in Glasgow. We receive overwhelming feedback from users of the scheme and numerous requests for more stations.

“We want to see the scheme continue to grow, bringing more bikes and stations in the city for people to use. In addition to the millions of pounds we are investing on cycle routes and infrastructure this is yet further progress in realising our ambition to make Glasgow one of the UK’s most cycling friendly cities.”

Colin Freeman, operations manager at The Bike Station in Glasgow, says nextbike’s arrival has created a cascade of positive impacts for the city. The Bike Station runs a number of community outreach projects in Glasgow designed to make cycling an easy, affordable and mainstream way to travel for people of all ages.

“We won the maintenance contract from the council to repair and maintain nextbikes and that money helps directly with the work we do here,” says Freeman. “It creates jobs for mechanics and distributors, and it helps teenagers not in employment, education or training to get real life skills.

“We are funded by a combination of grant funding and income generated from contracts like nextbike and these various projects teach, train, inspire and encourage people to get out on their bikes – whether it’s learning from scratch or taking the step to commute to work for the first time.

“The whole city benefits. You can see it every morning – streams of nextbikes riding through the parks and bringing people to and from the city. It’s a fabulous sight and while it’s great for tourists it’s also clearly benefiting the people of Glasgow.”

Besides the benefits that cycling brings to a population, there’s the positive impact on air quality, says nextbike. It says that in Glasgow there have been 286,521 rentals equalling 555,851km in journeys. This has saved 150,636kg of CO2, nextbike estimates.

Founded in 2004, nextbike’s headquarters are in Germany but it now provides 40,000 bikes in more than 25 countries including Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Dubai, Hungary, Latvia, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and India.

It operates schemes in 130 towns and cities and its partners include global banking giant Santander in Milton Keynes, and RBS for a similar scheme in Edinburgh.

Founder Ralf Kalupner says: “It started with only 20 bikes in Leipzig. Now, we work on an international basis with 40,000 bikes.”

He adds: “No other public bike sharing system can provide a larger international network of rental bikes which, incidentally, gives users access to every single scheme. Once you’ve signed up you’re able to use a nextbike regardless of whether you’re in Bath one week and Dubai the next.”

Our impact is felt quickly too, regardless of size of scheme, says Kalpner, citing the swift expansion of the scheme in Bath, which meant that the council support was no longer necessary.

Bath’s cabinet member for transport Anthony Clark says: “I am delighted that so many people are using nextbike as a simple and fun way to get around the city and experience Bath in a way that would not be possible by car.

“Improving transport is one of the top six priorities of our new administration, and this includes action to support sustainable transport options such as walking and cycling. The additional stations will enable more residents living just outside the center to take advantage of this resource, and to support students in the area to leave cars at home and cycle and walk while studying in Bath.”

Bike Share is also well suited to university towns, where there are a lot of commuters, a constant lack of parking space, combined with crowded buses and trains, says nextbike.

This has resulted in partnerships with the University of Warwick, Kent State University in Ohio and three universities in Germany (Mannheim, Potsdam and Bochum).

As part of an agreement with universities or student unions, students and staff get a package of free minutes per rental. Students and staff also have access to all of the bikes in their city with additional stations installed on and around the campus itself if required.

nextbike says it is the first bikeshare scheme to meet the Bikeplus standards.

The Public Bike Share Accreditation Criteria is designed for local authorities and sponsors to evaluate whether operators and suppliers reach agreed standards before being invited to apply for contracts.

Julian Scriven, managing director of nextbike UK, says: “nextbike is committed to delivering high quality bike share schemes that are sustainable in every way. The Bikeplus accreditation will help Local Authorities and sponsors identify organisations that can be relied on to create schemes that will benefit their communities.

“I believe this will lead to improved schemes, streamlining of the procurement process and further development of the sector’s safety and business standards.”

To meet the nextbike team and find out more about bike share come to Cycle City Active City

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