South Scotland

Dumfries bike hire scheme backed by transport chief

Image caption The cycle scheme has averaged less than 20 rentals a week since it started

A transport partnership chairman has said Scotland's first bike hire scheme will be a success despite low uptake in its first two years.

Figures have shown the £155,000 Dumfries Bike2Go scheme has averaged less than 20 rentals a week.

However, councillor Brian Collins, who chairs SWestrans, said there were plans to raise the profile of the scheme.

He said the local authority had no intention of dropping the project and believed it could still prove popular.

Mr Collins said there were plans in the near future to give all council staff access to the bikes when on council business in Dumfries.

"Hopefully, seeing these bikes moving around the town much more would encourage others to buy into the programme of healthy body, healthy mind," he said.

He accepted that this would only happen over a period of some years.

"It has got to be in the long-term that we explore the ways of attracting people to that active travel," he said.

"We are sticking with it - we are in it for the long term rather than the short."

Labour councillor Colin Smyth questioned the cost of the scheme at about £1,000 per active member.

"Of course it's crucial that initiatives to encourage cycling are supported, but at this rate it would have been cheaper for the Scottish government to buy all the members a new bike," he said.

"I have no doubt that the scheme was started with good intentions but sadly it is in danger of becoming an embarrassment.

"It has now been in place for two years and the council can't simply continue to say it is teething troubles or early days."

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