Nextbike Scheme Under Threat
The long-term future of Cardiff’s bike-share scheme could be under threat if theft, vandalism and threats against staff continue, warns operator Nextbike.
Since launching in 2018, Nextbike has attracted 136,000 customers with more than 1.2million trips undertaken. However, despite its popularity, the operators have now suspended the scheme in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.
UK managing director, Krysia Solheim, said, “The amount of vandalism and theft that we have seen is simply staggering and not something we’ve experienced to the same extent anywhere else in the UK.
“Our teams simply cannot keep up with the level of damage and theft being carried out.
“It’s a very small minority causing most of the damage. We’ve identified the groups responsible and are working with the police and local authorities to engage with them to deter such behaviour in the future. The private investigation firm we recently tasked with monitoring our bike docks in the Cardiff area, successfully recovered 16 lost/stolen bikes over a two-day period. They were shocked by the behaviours they witnessed.”
The scheme has been temporarily suspended, although Nextbike hopes to make the bikes available again early in 2022.
Inspector Darren Grady, from South Wales Police, said, “Nextbike is an excellent facility, which allows residents and visitors to travel around Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan in a convenient and environmentally-friendly manner.
“The minority who steal or vandalise these bikes ruin the facility for others and we are committed to working with Nextbike and the local authority to continue clamping down on this mindless behaviour.
“Abuse of Nextbike employees, theft and vandalism will not be tolerated and our Neighbourhood Policing Teams are extremely proactive in arresting those responsible.
“In the city centre alone, nine people have recently been convicted at court for such offences resulting in prison sentences, fines and community work.
“We look forward to seeing the bikes back on the streets soon and we appeal to the community to help protect the scheme when it returns.”