South Scotland

Dumfries bike hire scheme uptake levels remain low

Image caption The cycle scheme was launched in Dumfries at the beginning of September 2010

Figures for Scotland's first bike hire scheme show it has averaged less than 20 rentals a week since it was started two years ago.

The £155,000 Dumfries Bike2Go project was launched by Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson in September 2010.

Figures to the end of June this year show the bikes had been rented 1,529 times by scheme members.

That translates to a cost of more than £100 per hire since the project got under way in the town.

The scheme, the first of its kind in Scotland, was set up to encourage people to get "out of their cars and onto their bicycles".

It provides bikes free of charge to subscribers at a number of locations across the town.

It is based on similar schemes in Paris, Barcelona, Stockholm and one in London which clocked up one million journeys in its first 10 weeks.

However, the Dumfries usage figures have not picked up from early levels.

After 10 weeks rental levels averaged about 20-a-week, with winter weather being blamed for the low uptake.

The council promised a marketing campaign to encourage increased use of the bikes.

'Poor weather'

A detailed report shows that figures have failed to pick up noticeably from those early levels.

Once again the "very poor weather" this summer has been cited as a reason for the low level of rentals being seen.

By February this year the total number of subscribers had reached 148, an increase of just over 100 since the end of October 2010.

The most popular sites for rentals remain two town centre locations - the Dock Park and the DG One leisure complex which account for more than 40% of usage.

The majority of the rentals last for less than 30 minutes.

A one-off membership fee costs £10 and bike usage is charged at a rate of £1 per hour with the first half-hour free.

Day and half-day tickets are also available at a cost of £10 or £6 respectively.

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