The dockless stations for Edinburgh’s Just Eat Cycles bike hire scheme are to close due to unexpectedly high levels of vandalism.
The Scotsman reports that all 31 ‘virtual stations’ are to be closed. Just Eat Cycles said that as well as significant damage, 50 bikes had gone missing.
General manager Charles Graham said: “We have seen a lot of vandalism, which we were surprised by as it was at a higher rate than in London.
“The virtual stations were subject to abuse because the bikes were not secured to a physical dock. We do not think they are quite right for the city.
“Initially, people were trying to steal the bikes to use them, but that changed to wanton destruction – they were hit with hammers and cones. It’s quite depressing. It used to be localised but is now happening all over, including in the city centre.”
Plans to add another 70 dockless stations have been scrapped.
Just Eat Cycles will still be available for hire from physical stations with docking points. There are 74 such stations at present with plans to introduce more in well-lit, busier areas covered by CCTV.
In May, we reported how only around 200 out of 500 bikes were available for hire following a spate of attacks from vandals. Around 100 were damaged in just two weeks.
Dockless bike share schemes have often suffered as a result of vandalism with the most high profile example being in Manchester where Mobike were forced to pull out in 2018.
Earlier this year, an urban transport expert branded the dockless bike-sharing business model "a joke".
Several schemes that make use of docking stations have also struggled, however. The Bike & Go bike hire scheme, which operates from a number of Abellio stations, is to be closed down at the end of this month because it is "not self-sufficient". The bikes are being hired on average just once a month.