Oxford and Bath relaunch their cycle hire schemes as they find new operators

Bikes by the hour back on the streets in Oxford and Bath after new operators are found to run schemes

by Sarah Barth   June 22, 2014  

Bath bike hire bikes

Oxford’s bike hire scheme has been relaunched six months after it folded, after the council found a new operator.

Oxfordshire County Council will now be running the OxonBike scheme with HourBike Ltd, bringing 30 cycles to seven locations around Headington. in East Oxford.

The £150,000 project was originally launched in June last year, but the two-year pilot only lasted six months before its operator Grand Scheme Bike Share went into liquidation.

The new arrangement, funded by the government through its Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
is to last for a year, with the bikes free for the first 30 minutes.

David Nimmo Smith, the county's cabinet member for transport, told the BBC: "When the scheme launched last year around 500 people signed up, so I am sure that those people will be very keen to get back in the saddle.

"Commuters who use Thornhill Park and Ride and who travel in and around Headington to places like the universities and hospitals will find OxonBike particularly useful."

Meanwhile in Bath the cycle hire scheme has also been relaunched with a new operator and more hire points.

Bath and North East Somerset Council came to the end of an arrangement with the Italian firm which has run the bike hire scheme since September 2011 - and it was taken over by the German firm Nextbike.

Cabinet member for transport Councillor Caroline Roberts told the Bath Chronicle: “The new and improved council scheme will boost cycling as a more viable option for people wanting to get around Bath and the surrounding area by bike.

“The cycles can also explore surrounding routes like the Two Tunnels Greenway and Kennet and Avon Canal Path since there will be no restrictions on where they can be ridden.”

4 user comments

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Sounds like an improvement on the previous Bath scheme.

There were 4 stations IIRC. The longest distance between any two was walkable in 15 minutes and the pricing discouraged trying to get any further, such as a nice ride down the canal.

Googling still comes up with Bath Narrowboats' private half/full day hire, which is much more useful than the old scheme was.

I hope the new scheme is better and more successful, but I still worry that councils are concentrating on "trendy" schemes like this rather than improving the road network to make subjectively safe routes for cycling.

posted by pmanc [144 posts]
22nd June 2014 - 22:11

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This was a complete disaster in oxford as Headington is a sleepy part of oxford except for students who are likely to have their own clanger to knock about on. agree with Pmanc's comments that this seems to be tagging on to trendy schemes from elsewhere.

posted by jonnycondor [8 posts]
23rd June 2014 - 8:49

4 Likes

Is HourBike the one that crashed and burned spectacularly in Bristol a few years ago? Docking stations shown on city-produced maps but never available for hire when I visited the city.

posted by a.jumper [727 posts]
23rd June 2014 - 9:41

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On my Oxford Hospital's intranet there was a message about "the relaunch of the successful bike hire scheme" -

- um, that would be the scheme that was so successful it closed after a couple of months as the company "went bust" (no doubt after incurring heavy losses paying a few faty salaries).

The Oxford scheme looks like a cushy little deal between the council and the companies involved. They'd have been better off paying the Bike Doctor or another mobile mechanic, to help people get the best from the bikes they alrady own.

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [591 posts]
26th June 2014 - 9:04

1 Like