Scotland’s first cycle hire scheme, launched in Dumfries in September, has seen slow uptake in its first two months of operation, with 47 users making an average of three journeys each. With the scheme costing £155,000 to put in place, that means that each trip to date has cost more than £1,000.
Councillors in the town in southwestern Scotland have acknowledged that the approach of winter means that usage levels are unlikely to improve any time soon, and have pledged to give the scheme a marketing boost next spring to encourage people to use the bikes, which are available free of charge at nine locations.
The initiative, called Dumfries Bike2Go project was launched by Scottish Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson in September.
In all, 142 journeys were made using the bikes in September and October, with 1pm-6pm being the peak period for use, with the most popular hire location being Dock Park. The highest use by an individual member was in excess of 20 journeys.
A council spokesman, quoted on the BBC News website, underlined that the figures to date were a reflection of the scheme being in its infancy and the time of year it was launched in.
"Obviously the recent weather hasn't been conducive to cycling unless the rider is pre-prepared with clothing suitable for cycling in wet weather,” he said.
"We are working to build the number of users and a marketing campaign in the spring will encourage increased use of the bikes,” he added.
The cost per journey should reduce in time as a proportion of the £155,000 start-up cost of the scheme, but compares unfavourably to the £140 million Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme in London, where more than a million journeys have now been made, bringing the current cost per trip there to below £140.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.