The Edinburgh bike hire scheme is set to end on September 17 after business giant Serco and Edinburgh City Council failed to agree on a funding model.
This comes after high levels of theft and vandalism has made the scheme, which aimed to be self-financing, more expensive than planned.
First introduced in 2018, the Just Eat sponsored bikes provided an easy and environmentally friendly way to travel around the city.
70,000 unique users, including high numbers of students, completed over 450,000 trips around Edinburgh, totalling over 2 million km travelled by bike rather than carbon dioxide generating alternatives.
Edinburgh City Council leader Adam McVey said:
“We are very disappointed that Serco have opted to walk away from the popular shared bike hire scheme in Edinburgh.
“When the bike hire scheme was first introduced the commitment was to operate it with no public funding and it is highly regrettable that Serco will not continue the scheme on that basis.
“The council recognises that the bike hire scheme has helped more people get access to bikes, enjoying the benefits of fast, reliable, healthier journeys around town.
“The withdrawal of Serco will come as a frustrating shock to many regular users of the bike hire scheme.
“It sends absolutely the wrong message at a time when so many of us are deeply concerned about the climate emergency and what we can each do to combat the effects of human activity.”
Serco disputed Adam McVey’s claim that they walked away from the scheme, with micromobility director Sam Jones saying:
“We’re disappointed that we have been unable to find a way to continue the Edinburgh bike scheme.
“We have explored every route possible to find extension options beyond our original three-year contract which expires on 17 September 2021.
“Those efforts continued through to last week when the council advised us that they were not able to extend the current contract.
“Serco has been running the scheme since September 2018 under a three-year concession.
“Despite the scheme making a loss over that time we have not walked away and we have stood by our commitments and continued to make a success of the scheme for the city’s people and visitors.”
Edinburgh council say they are ‘actively pursuing’ options to replace this scheme ‘as quickly as possible’.
Image: PixaHive: Transport for Edinburgh