YoBike has been accused of entering the Bath bike hire market ‘like a wrecking ball' after its bikes started appearing in the city despite rival firm nextbike having a contract with the council.
Nextbike has operated in Bath for three years, but Julian Scriven, managing director of the firm, told the Bath Chronicle that YoBikes from Bristol were now being left in the city and not collected.
“We did get hold of the council to say they are not supposed to stay in Bath and when YoBikes were contacted they said they would get someone to pick them up.
“We thought it was just teething problems with a new start-up, but the bikes were still there at the end of the week and when we offered to pick them up for them, they said they were coming to Bath.
“The council were surprised about this as while they did have the initial conversation with YoBike, they didn’t see the need for two sustainable bike schemes in the city.”
YoBike has been operating in Bristol since April and has apparently been encouraging users to make use of the Bristol to Bath Railway Path.
— YoBike (@YoBikeUK) May 30, 2017
Scriven emphasised that he was fine with this, but pointed out that the bikes shouldn’t be left in the city.
“They entered Bristol a few weeks ago and we were pleased to see that as we want to see more sustainable transport schemes. Then about 10 days ago we had a call from a customer saying someone had dumped a YoBike at one of our racks and when I logged on the app I saw quite a few popping up in Bath.”
Scriven said that YoBike had not reacted to what the council said and added that there were still a lot of the firm’s bikes in Bath.
“I had a photo from a customer of one of our racks where another bike had been left and it is causing confusion. We’ve also had a few complaints about YoBikes being left in the way.
“It’s a shame because it’s a young industry and people are sceptical. We have been around for 13 years building up a reputation but these bikes have reinforced the bad image around cycling. There is a fine line between being a constructor and destructor, with someone coming in like a wrecking ball.
“Bristol City Council had all the best intentions giving YoBike permission to come in to their city, but now they have Bath council unhappy with them coming over here.”
A statement from the council said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council is aware of the issues regarding the bikes being left in the area and has contacted YoBikes to resolve the matter. Anyone who finds an abandoned YoBike in Bath and North East Somerset should contact the company directly at www.YoBike.co.uk to arrange collection.”