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.