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Manchester plans £10m bike hire scheme – says it's learned from Mobike failure

New scheme will feature e-bikes and docking system

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority was yesterday considering a new £10m bike hire scheme. Previous provider Mobike pulled out of the city in September 2018, saying that losses resulting from vandalism and theft had rendered its operation in the city “unsustainable.”

Between July 2017 and August 2018, Greater Manchester Police were called to more than 400 incidents involving Mobikes. The force recorded 274 of those as crimes.

Speaking at the time, Greater Manchester cycling and walking commissioner Chris Boardman said that antisocial behaviour was not a problem unique to Manchester.

“It has been encountered in other UK cities and other bike operators have found ways to deal with it,” he said, adding, “The problem here has been that we just haven’t seen the right level of engagement from Mobike or a willingness to work to implement tried and tested solutions.”

The Manchester Evening News reports that the city is now looking to launch a new bike-share scheme in spring 2021.

Mayor Andy Burnham tweeted that the combined authority was considering the project at a virtual meeting yesterday.

Around 1,500 bicycles will be made available for the first phase of the project. Crucially, the entire fleet – which will include e-bikes – will have to be parked at docking stations in a bid to make the bikes more secure.

The scheme will start off in Manchester, Salford and Trafford with those three boroughs chosen due to their ‘large student population, high numbers of visitors, several attractors and high cycle propensity amongst residents’.

A combined authority report said: “Over the past five years, several independent studies and practical demonstrations have confirmed that there is a demand for a public bike share scheme in Greater Manchester.

“The service would support first mile/last mile journeys by fixed public transport modes, and, in successful schemes around the world, such services complement tram, bus and rail networks.

“Officers have expressed concerns to ensure that the scheme supports wider ambitions in the regional centre, such as pedestrianisation and should assist in getting people to work and in linking to residential areas.”

Funding for the first phase will come from Burnham’s challenge fund.

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