South Scotland

Dumfries Bike2Go scheme mothballed by council

Image caption Rental cycles have been withdrawn from stances across Dumfries, including at the Whitesands

Scotland's first government-backed public bike hire scheme has been mothballed, BBC Scotland has learned.

The £155,000 Bike2Go scheme was launched in Dumfries in 2010 in a bid to boost cycling in the town - but it failed to win popular support.

When council officers quietly withdrew the cycles last autumn, they promised to re-launch the scheme this spring.

Now Dumfries and Galloway Council has admitted more funding is needed before the bikes can return to the streets.

A spokeswoman said it hoped to help a local voluntary group support the scheme.

Bike2Go was the first scheme of its kind in Scotland and it was based on similar models in London, Paris, Barcelona and Stockholm.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption More than 43 million journeys were made on "Boris bikes" in London during the first five years of that scheme

It provided bicycles free of charge to subscribers at 11 locations across the town.

However uptake was low and, three years after it launched, it emerged that the town's 42 bikes had been hired just 2,270 times.

It worked out at more than £60 per rental.

When the bikes were removed from their stands last October, a council spokeswoman said they hoped to re-launch the project in conjunction with ScotRail's Bike and Go scheme in spring this year.

However, the cycles have not returned to their stands and a spokeswoman for the council admitted: "The bikes are currently being stored following refurbishment."

'Sustainable transport'

She added: "Bike2Go was a Scottish government-funded scheme with a time-limited budget from the government.

"The council is aiming to submit a funding bid to support a voluntary sector partner to provide future support for the bikes, as well as local employment.

"We are also seeking discussions with ScotRail on the anticipated timescale for implementation of their cycle hire scheme"

Transport Scotland confirmed that the Bike2Go scheme was funded as part of a sustainable transport pilot which ran in Dumfries from 2008 to 2012.

A spokeswoman for ScotRail said: "We would welcome the opportunity to meet with Dumfries and Galloway Council to discuss integrated cycling plans."

Image caption There are no bicycles available at Dumfries Railway Station

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