Newcastle and Gateshead Mobike scheme suspended

MobikeImage source, MOBIKE
Image caption,
Mobikes were introduced in Newcastle in 2017, before extending to Gateshead last June.

Bike hire firm Mobike is to pull out of Newcastle and Gateshead.

The firm has confirmed that it will be moving its bikes from Tyneside to London in May to "increase the sustainability" of its UK business.

It comes after concerns about vandalism, with many bikes seen dumped in the River Tyne and elsewhere.

Users will be automatically refunded during May, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The orange-and-silver bikes were introduced in Newcastle in October 2017, before the scheme was rolled out to parts of Gateshead.

'A final farewell?'

At the beginning of September last year it was announced that the bikes were staying in Newcastle despite concerns about vandalism.

At the time Newcastle City Council said it was "keen to see the Mobike scheme stay in the city due to the positive travel choices it provides".

Mobike general manager Jan Van der Ven said the company "enjoyed" operating in Newcastle and Gateshead, and that it was "hopefully not a final farewell".

He said: "We plan to remain engaged with the city councils of Newcastle and Gateshead, as well as the local business community, and we will remain open to revisit our decision in future."

Last week, Newcastle City Council said it was in talks about a prospective electric bike sharing scheme which would work alongside the existing Mobike scheme.

Mobike pulled its services out of Manchester in September after losing 10% of its cycles each month to theft and vandalism.

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