Council puts brakes on Citybike scheme
LIVERPOOL City Council are putting the brakes on the popular Citybike rental scheme in north Liverpool, despite a rise in interest from cyclists.
Eight 'docking stations' where the bikes are stored and available to hire will be removed from Walton, Everton and Kirkdale, as the local authority looks at saving some money.
This is despite a “significant increase” in year on year usage of the scheme, with around 300,000 rentals to date from users across the entire city.
But the council has revealed that due to the size and scale of the operation, it requires an annual subsidy to cover the costs of repairs and maintenance – and data shows that 80% of the hires come from just 20% of the docking stations.
The eight docking stations in north Liverpool have less than 25 hires a month and will therefore be removed.
The move comes after a decision in August to bring the scheme under council control from operator Hourbike and save £100,000 a year.
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Councillor Steve Munby, Cabinet member for highways, said: “Citybike has been a huge success in terms of the number of people using the cycles to get around Liverpool, evidenced by the number of people we see riding around on them, particularly in the city centre.
“But there is a fine balance between making the scheme attractive and affordable to users, against the ongoing costs of maintenance of the bikes and the docking stations and that is why, in common with other local authorities that run bike hire schemes, we have had to subsidise it.
“We know the scheme brings huge benefits and that people use them to get to work or for leisure and that they are great for tourists to explore our city so we are committed to its future and are looking at ideas to expand it, such as to neighbouring boroughs.”
There will be no loss of bikes from the network as they will simply be deployed elsewhere.
The docking stations being removed are Lifestyles Walton; Everton Road Hostel; Byrom Street in Everton; Mere Lane Health Centre in Everton; Kirkdale Railway Station; Silvester Street in Kirkdale; and The Rotunda.