Council set to commission pilot dockless bikeshare service

Published: Thursday 15th February 18

Wandsworth is set to work with an operator of a dockless bikeshare scheme to run a pilot project in the borough.

Councillors next week are expected to approval proposals to run the scheme which will mean people can register with an app to locate and hire a bike without having to access it via a fixed docking station. Strict safeguards would be put in place to make sure the bikes don’t cause a nuisance on borough streets. 

The scheme would complement the existing Santander cycle hire scheme, which does not operate across the entire borough, and encourage more people to get out of their car and use clean, sustainable transport. It will support the objectives of the council’s Cycling Strategy and other council plans which aim for cycling to make up seven per cent of all trips by 2026.

It follows a decision by the council last year to stop the dockless bike hire firm O-bikes from operating in the borough following widespread complaints about bikes being randomly dumped.

Since then O-bikes has agreed schemes work better if companies work with the council to ensure they run smoothly, and O-bikes will be one of the six companies that will be considered for the pilot, along with Ofo, Mobike, Urbo, Nextbike and Ponybike. Read more about their proposed services.

The new pilot scheme will be designed to minimise potential problems such as bikes blocking pavements, being abandoned and not being distributed effectively.  Whichever company the council choses to run the pilot will be expected to ensure good practice is established, monitored and maintained, and follows TfL’s dockless bike share code of practice. Wandsworth will liaise with other London borough to ensure the scheme can operate across borders.

The operator will be given permission to trial the scheme for 12 months, but the scheme will be closely monitored and it could be terminated earlier if there are problems. Busier areas of the borough will be targeted.

The council’s transport spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “We feel there is a place in the borough for a dockless bike hire scheme, but it must be the right one, and it must work closely with us to ensure our residents benefit, rather than being bothered by dumped bikes.

“The borough now has a range of environmentally-friendly transport options and infrastructure, including the riverbus, the Santander scheme and a growing network of electric car charging points. We’re confident that we will soon be able to add a well-run dockless cycle hire scheme to that list.”

The proposal will be discussed at next week’s Community Services overview and scrutiny committee. Read the agenda item.

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Recent comments

If the evidence of today's commute is anything to go by the ' Strict safeguards would be put in place to make sure the bikes don’t cause a nuisance on borough streets' is a complete farce. I counted fifteen of these orange monstrosities just dumped anywhere this morning and I can't see this trial, where the council have at least been given a decent bung by the operators, will be any different to the last one.
Jonathon Burke

4 June 2018

Great to see this is back on the table. When MoBike and Ofo launched it was a bit of a mess, but now across London they are being stored and used in a more responsible way. Extending Santander bikes further into Wandsworth would be the best solution, but any provision of bikes is a good thing. Hopefully this will work well and help to reduce car traffic and pollution levels and make people less fat.

1 May 2018

How will these ‘strict safeguards’ be enforced? These firms have a complete disregard for rules - their aim is to be disruptors. They’ll pay lip service and say ‘oops, sorry’ when it goes wrong. They think it admirable to ask forgiveness rather than permission. A terrible idea.

22 February 2018

Yet more free loader cyclists.

17 February 2018

This is a VERY bad idea. It has been operating in Sydney for a year or so and the experience is that people leave the bikes all over the place and create a nuisance on the streets where they are left. I have seen the bike debris myself over Christmas and I can confirm that the scheme just isn't workable. The bikes also get vandalised and just left useless on the street. Such a problem that there is now a campaign to halt the project and clean all the bikes pff the stress of Sydney. Total failure of a scheme.
James Drayton

16 February 2018