The Fix Your Bike scheme launched amid great fanfare last year by transport secretary Grant Shapps has reportedly closed with only four in five of the £50 vouchers enabling people in England to get unused and neglected bikes back on the road having been released.
The £25 million initiative, announced in May last year as the Department for Transport (DfT) made active travel a key part of its strategy for emerging from the coronavirus pandemic, envisaged 500,000 vouchers being made available to the public, but to date just 400,000 have been released in four tranches.
The first two batches of 50,000 vouchers each were released last year, the first in late July, and two further releases of 150,000 vouchers each followed earlier this year.
The page on the Department for Transport’s website giving details of the scheme was updated yesterday and now includes a statement reading: “The voucher scheme has been hugely popular, and all vouchers in all 4 releases have now been claimed.
“We continue to work closely with industry to monitor the scheme’s impact. Any updates on future releases of vouchers will be published on this page.”
However, repairer registration has now been closed and an article on Cycling Industry News suggests that the scheme itself has closed – a point upon which road.cc is seeking clarification from the DfT.
The initiative has proved highly popular with the public, with all vouchers snapped up within a short time of being released, although it is not known how many have actually been redeemed.
However, during the scheme’s operation, some businesses involved in cycle maintenance and repair have reported bike owners deferring servicing while waiting to see if more vouchers become available, affecting the usual flow of workshop business, while others highlighted delays in receiving payment for vouchers submitted to its operator, the Energy Saving Trust.
The repair sector has also been affected by the global shortage in parts and components sparked by the coronavirus pandemic and exacerbated by logistics difficulties including soaring shipping costs.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.