New Bike Hire Scheme for Bath

Soon to be seen in Bath

Soon to be seen in Bath

Many people are familiar with the old bike hire scheme in Bath with its four sets of docking stations in the centre of Bath.  This scheme was funded for one year through the European Civitas project and has now ended.

There was much wrong with that scheme.  Firstly it was not very clear about how the bikes could be used (a card had to be used and this was available on line or at the Tourist Information shop in Abbey Churchyard), secondly there were only four docking locations in the city.
Bicincitta were managing the scheme from Italy, so when anything went wrong, and it did frequently, there was often a wait before it was put right. However, a bike hire scheme run by Nextbike (see the company link here) will be launched in early May. 

There will be 10 docking locations this time.  The four existing locations will remain (with different equipment), Guildhall, Holburne Museum, Green Park Station and Bath Spa Station.  In addition there will be new docking stations at the RUH, Bath Spa University, the Marina/Caravan Park near the New bridge Park and Ride, Unite Student Housing on Lower Bristol Road, in Oldfield Park at the junction of Moorland Road and Triangle West and if approved by English Heritage in Royal Avenue in Victoria Park.

Docking stations will be replaced by "Nextbike" equipment

Docking stations will be replaced by “Nextbike” equipment

Bikes in the new bike hire scheme can be hired at the locations by an App or by telephone to a hot line and the first half hour will be free. this si all you need – no having to go to the Tourist Information Centre to get a card.  The bikes can be taken out of the city too – under the previous scheme this was not allowed – so a gentle ride up through the Two Tunnels to Midford or along the canal to Bathampton should be attractive to visitors, but they may also be used by commuters at Newbridge Park and Ride.

Bath Spa university students are also being targeted by docking stations at student accommodation on Lower Bristol Road and at the University. Most cities with such a bike hire scheme are bigger than Bath, but we get more than 4 million visitors each year coming to the city, so there is a good chance that the bikes will make money for the operator Nextbike.

The Council has committed £25k from the Government’s Local sustainable Transport fund to help kick start the new scheme. The company, Nextbike was established in Leipzig. Nextbike bikes are available around the clock at rental stations.

Once registered, renting bikes can be done in every participating city and country. Nextbike provides bike sharing systems in more than 30 German cities and 14 countries worldwide. This way, a user doesn’t need to register a new account each time in a new city. Visitors from cities in Europe, where Nextbike operate and who are registered will find it easy to rent a bike in Bath once they are installed.

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2 Responses to New Bike Hire Scheme for Bath

  1. Phil Knight says:

    This is good news for Bath. However it is a shame that the equipment from the previous project is being scrapped. This kind of wastage is symptomatic of grant funded projects, which have a tendency to sink with all hands when the funding runs out. Unfortunately grant funding seems to be becoming an increasingly popular model for public service delivery.

    • Roger says:

      Hi Phil
      Fair comment. The previous scheme was for a year and was paid for through EU funding from the Civitas Transport project. we had hoped that the project would be successful and continue beyond that time. We had no say though in which company ran that project and they did not seem to take it very seriously. This scheme has been funded through the Local Suatainable Transport Fund money from Central Government, but it is hoped that it will become self funding after a couple of years.

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