Smartphone bike hire scheme for York grinds to a halt

The Mobike dockless bike hire scheme came to Manchester but was stopped last year. Photograph © Duncan Hull on Flickr

The wheels have come off plans for a dockless bike hire scheme in York.

The proposals, which would have seen hundreds of bikes brought to the city for people to hire via their smartphones, were discussed at a council meeting in July 2018.

Senior York councillor Peter Dew had confirmed that a company already at work in the UK was interested in York.

But, following the collapse of several bike hire businesses nationally, the council confirmed that plans for York have been put on hold.

A changing market

The dockless bike share scheme received support from the executive members for both environment, and transport and planning in July.

A spokesman for City of York Council said:

  • Prior to the decision, we had spoken to a number of companies looking to introduce their product in York.

    Following the decision, a number of these companies have ceased to trade.

    Bike share is a changing market and we’ve been looking closely at the performance of the schemes in other UK cities.

    It is only right that we take time to make sure that the we only introduce a product which will work for the city, and play a positive role promoting cycling and reducing congestion in the city.

Previous scheme dropped

It is not the first time that a bike hire scheme for York has been scuppered after the collapse of a rental company.

A report prepared for the meeting in July revealed that the city was on the brink of a docked bike hire scheme in 2014, but the project was dropped when the operator went into administration.

Senior councillors said any scheme for York should be initially rolled out for one year and should not require heavy council investment or a risk to taxpayers’ money.

Dockless schemes use smartphone apps which let people locate, unlock and hire bikes.

They can then be parked in virtual parking areas, where the locking mechanism is activated, which can prevent bikes being left in inappropriate locations.