Docking stations that are used less than once a day on average are to be removed over the coming weeks as the city council looks to drive down the scheme’s costs. Thirty three stations will be removed, leaving around 70 in operation. The total number of bikes available will remain the same.
The scheme was launched in 2014, and there have been around 307,000 rentals to date. The council said that usage is up significantly year on year, and those using the bikes have cycled a total of 1.4m miles so far.
However, with data showing that 80% of cycle hires come from 20% of docking stations – primarily in the city centre – the council, which brought management of the scheme in-house from operator Hourbike in August, has decided that the budget required for repair and maintenance can be put to better use by streamlining the number of stations.
Cllr Steve Munby, cabinet member for highways, said: “Citybike has been a huge success in terms of the number of people using the cycles to get around Liverpool, evidenced by the number of people we see riding around on them, particularly in the city centre.
“But there is a fine balance between making the scheme attractive and affordable to users, against the ongoing costs of maintenance of the bikes and the docking stations and that is why, in common with other local authorities that run bike hire schemes, we have had to subsidise it.
“We know the scheme brings huge benefits and that people use them to get to work or for leisure and that they are great for tourists to explore our city so we are committed to its future and are looking at ideas to expand it, such as to neighbouring boroughs.”
The docking stations being removed are mostly in residential areas, but the list also includes Lime Street station and Renshaw Street in the city centre, along with Estuary Business Park and Speke Road Matchworks.
Extensive figures have not yet been made available by Mobike over that operator’s venture into Manchester, however a spokesman told Place North West that “the scheme has been extremely successful with an average peak of 9 rides per bike per day”.
Following a spate of vandalism in its early days, the spokesman said: “Across Manchester and London, the scheme has been used properly and responsibly by the vast majority of people.”