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"Targeted enforcement" to tackle significant rise in hire bike vandalism, Transport for Greater Manchester warns

The scheme's operator Beryl says there are currently just 379 bikes out on the network compared with 564 awaiting repair...

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has outlined plans, including "targeted enforcement", to tackle a "significant rise" in vandalism to the city's Bee Network Cycle Hire Scheme in recent weeks.

Highlighting the extent of the issue five years after dockless bike hire operator Mobike pulled out of the city-region, citing similar anti-social behaviour, 60 per cent of the current fleet of bikes is awaiting repair or maintenance by operator Beryl.

> One Mobike incident a day was reported to Manchester police during bike-share firm's time in the city

Following up on Friday's comments, TfGM today revealed that 564 bikes were awaiting repair with just 379 currently out on the network, something the body has met with Greater Manchester Police (GMP), Mayor Andy Burnham and Active Travel Commissioner Dame Sarah Storey to discuss, with an early action plan for halting the vandalism outlined.

Beryl - TfGM.JPG

As part of the steps to increase availability again, TfGM says Beryl has joined the TravelSafe Partnership (TSP) along with GMP, operators and other agencies to take an "enforcement, engagement and education-led approach to tackling crime and antisocial behaviour".

"Targeted enforcement is planned against those involved in criminal activity," today's announcement said. TfGM and Beryl will also "review the penalties given to users who misuse the scheme by not returning bikes to designated areas, or who leave them unlocked after use".

Available bikes will also be reallocated from low-usage areas to those with higher ridership.

In a joint statement, TfGM's Cycling and Walking Director Richard Nickson, GMP's Chief Superintendent Mark Dexter and Beryl's CEO Phil Ellis, said:  

"The cycle hire scheme is a key part of the Bee Network – Greater Manchester's vision for a truly integrated 'London-style' network – and we are extremely proud of how it has been received in Greater Manchester, with the vast majority of people using it respectfully and exactly as intended. 

"Unfortunately, a small minority have wilfully and maliciously damaged bikes over recent weeks. This has meant there has been fewer than normal available for hire, and we're sorry to anyone who has not been able get one when needed.  

"We will not tolerate this type of behaviour and are working closely together to increase availability of bikes and prevent and deter criminality.  

"The public can play their part too. You can be our eyes and ears and help us by reporting any misuse of the scheme. 

"We want residents and visitors to have a safe and reliable experience and would reassure everybody that we are resolute in our commitment to ensuring its continued success and are taking steps to target those seeking to undermine the scheme."

The vandalism and reports of low availability come as TfGM celebrates ridership passing one million kilometres cycled, adding that usage was three times higher than expected during May. The scheme launched in Novemeber 2021 and has 62,563 active users, up from less than 40,000 at the start of the year.

Dan is the news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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Muddy Ford | 1 year ago

What's the competition for this scheme, and are they competing fairly? Seems a targetted destruction of a business. 

IanMSpencer | 1 year ago

This is a culture thing - we can't have nice things because a significant proportion of the population don't care about stuff.

I think I'll just have to have a weekly Japan column because there they had an amazing amount of things lying around which could be easily vandalised but they were not. Drinks machines on just about every street corner, halfway up a mountain, superloos on trains, public toilets, again halfway up a mountain you could have a warmed bottom and a good rinse on a toilet so we'll designed that they never needed cleaning, not a McD wrapper to be seen, not a spot of litter.

Because That Woman declared there was no such thing as society, it gave politics and the population the notion that not caring was acceptable. A world of "don't tell me what to do" with no responsibility either.

So basically, it is now impossible to have decent public provision because vandalism is socially acceptable in a significant part of the population.

open_roads replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago

Basically it's chav culture meets "street" culture - anything provided by the state is ok to steal or vandalise and anything owned by someone else (company / citizen) is yours to take as well because of your perceived disadvantages in life.

chrisonabike replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
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IanMSpencer wrote:

This is a culture thing - we can't have nice things because a significant proportion of the population don't care about stuff. I think I'll just have to have a weekly Japan column because there they had an amazing amount of things lying around which could be easily vandalised but they were not. ... [Because Thatcher]

Hmm... we certainly do have pockets of culture where "caring about other people's stuff" is seen as stupid.  Or even where you can increase your cred by demonstrating this.  We also may be less likely to intervene where we see others misbehaving.

I've not been to Japan but was in Korea - where the culture also has very strong social prohibitions and control.  Steering humans requires both positive and negative feedback.  It's never easy to import just a piece of the puzzle.  Just look at us messing up "simple civil engineering" (e.g. cycle infra) from a rather similar culture about 100 miles away - in part because of the UK cultural prohibitions on inconveniencing the motorist.

I'm unclear how much Thatcher was a cause of "social changes / beliefs we don't like" or a symbol of them.  I'm pretty sure the good folk of the British Isles have been trashing public infra for jollies before her though!

mctrials23 | 1 year ago

How much of a pathetic cunt do you have to be to vandalise a bike hire system. Some people should just be removed from the gene pool. 

Zermattjohn replied to mctrials23 | 1 year ago

Come with me on my commute through Rusholme, Fallowfield and Burnage and you can ask 'em all that question yourself. This city seems to have more of these bottom-feeders than most.

Manchestercyclist replied to Zermattjohn | 1 year ago

I've been in Manchester for 25 years, you couldn't be more right. The city celebrates a laddish culture that everyone else grew up from after the nineties, here it's the norm still. It's the filthiest city in the UK and the reason is the people that live here.

Dnnnnnn | 1 year ago
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I was in Manchester recently and saw lots of empty docking stations but not a single scheme bike being ridden.

Drinfinity replied to Dnnnnnn | 1 year ago

Have a look down Oxford Road, plenty in use there.

Dnnnnnn replied to Drinfinity | 1 year ago

If you mean down towards the university, that was about the only place I did see a few docked bikes (and a kid hanging around like he was going to unofficially undock one). The bikes I actually saw being used there were mostly food delivery ones going at 20mph+ without being pedalled. Without chains in some cases!

stonojnr replied to Dnnnnnn | 1 year ago
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Agreed, I was around central Manchester the other week, saw plenty of empty docks, but no more than a handful of hire bike riders. Even on Oxford Road which still looks hostile as hell to ride, barely any cyclists on any bikes.

Except for the very obvious modded ebikes the deliveroo riders were using,and lots of e-scooters.

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