Scores of cyclists will take part in a mass ride through Cardiff to celebrate the expansion of the city’s nextbike share scheme.
A whopping 4,300 miles have been clocked up on the bikes in Cardiff since a trial scheme with 50 bikes was launched in March – the equivalent of cycling the Taff Trail 78 times.
And the whole city will get to use the bikes for free for 24 hours today as part of the official launch.
nextbike, the world’s most extensive bike-share operator, is launching an additional 200 bikes and 20 stations in Cardiff following the successful introduction of a small number of bikes and stations.
|The scheme’s expansion will be marked with a mass cycle ride across the city, when up to 60 people are expected to ride from The Senedd to Pedal Power, in Bute Park, including councillors and Welsh Government officials. People will also be able to take advantage of Freewheeling Friday, where nextbikes will be available at no cost for 24 hours.
nextbike will also be giving away freebies on the day, alongside reduced annual subscriptions to members of the public.
They cost £1 for 30mins but there are discounts for longer periods.
The scheme was made possible thanks to backing from Cardiff Council and financial support from the Welsh Government and Cardiff University. It was introduced with the aim of reducing congestion, freeing up parking spaces and providing a healthier, sustainable way to travel around the city.
The additional bikes and stations mean the people of Cardiff will have access to a total of 250 bikes and 25 stations. Numbers will then be doubled by the end of August, taking the scheme to full-strength with 50 stations and 500 bikes located in and around the city.
|New docking station locations:
Over 1,000 people have already signed up to the scheme’s annual membership and a further 2,000 registering with the app, with over 5,330 journeys being made in the first few months alone. The Early May Bank Holiday saw the bikes used at their most to date, with an average of four trips per bike being taken.
New stations will be spread across the city including Fairwater, Llandaff, Cathays, Adamstown and Splott.
Cabinet Member for Sustainable Planning and Transport, Cllr Caro Wild said, “We are delighted with the public’s response since we launched the initial stations and bikes in Cardiff. People seem to be using them both to explore our wonderful city, but most importantly for their daily journeys such as going to work or the shops.”
Julian Scriven, MD of nextbike UK, said he was excited to be bringing the extra stations and bikes to the scheme. “It was important to us, and to our partners at Cardiff Council, that the scheme has a presence across a wide area of Cardiff, not just in the city centre, to ensure the bikes are accessible to the whole community.”
Economy and Transport Secretary Ken Skates said. “I am delighted our financial support helped nextbike set up in Cardiff. This exciting business contributes to our aims as a government to encourage people to become more active and reduce the number of cars travelling in our beautiful capital city.
“The simple yet effective idea behind nextbike has proven immensely popular in Cardiff. I am so pleased the scheme is extending its reach, with more bikes available in more areas, and I wish nextbike every success in its future ventures.”
The Welsh Government’s commitment to increasing the prominence of cycling and walking has been described as ‘questionable’ by the Welsh Conservatives.
Shadow Secretary for Environment, David Melding AM, made the remarks in response to the publication of a report by the National Assembly’s Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee.
The report stated that there has been a lack of progress in increasing the amount of people that are walking and cycling since the passage of the Active Travel Act in 2013.During 2013, 6% of people aged over 16 made at least one so-called active travel trip by bicycle at least once a week. The figure for 2016-17 – the most recent figures – showed it stood at 5%.
Speaking following the publication of the report, Mr Melding, said, “This report is a stark indictment of the Welsh Government’s commitment to increasing active travel measures.
“The report itself concludes that strategic leadership has been lacking and that’s inexcusable. In most European countries, levels of active travel account for 25% to 35% of all daily trips, yet in Wales we are still lingering around the 5% mark. Where is our ambition?”