On-street bike rental scheme will end in Cardiff & Vale of Glamorgan in January, 2024


Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan's on-street bike hire scheme will cease to operate from January but work to introduce a new and improved service is already underway.

The scheme was Nextbike's most successful in the UK in terms of usage, with two million rentals across both counties during its lifespan.

But, alongside its popularity, there have been regular incidents of vandalism and theft in Cardiff - issues that have forced the scheme to close.

Nextbike ran in Cardiff and the Vale for a number of years and in that time 3,000 bikes were stolen or vandalised leaving only a third of the fleet available for use. The ongoing damage to the bikes left both Nextbike, and Cardiff Council, with little choice but to close the current scheme.

The Nextbike contract was due to end in early 2025 and Cardiff Council had already started work on what a new, and updated scheme, might look like.

A feasibility study is underway which will provide answers on the best way forward for both councils.

This study will look at schemes across the globe, understand improvements in security, and the latest technology, while reviewing a variety of suppliers and different operating and sponsorship models.

Cardiff Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Council hope to soon be able to go to the market for a replacement scheme that is fit for the future.

Cardiff Council's Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport, Cllr Dan De'Ath, said: "The Cardiff and Vale cycle-hire scheme has, despite its challenges, been an immensely popular scheme with a significant number of users and we thank its dedicated and loyal customers for their support.

"I want them to know that it is our intention to see a new cycle hire scheme return to the city as soon as possible.

"The Council is optimistic that we can find a new partner. At the end of the day, it's clear there is an appetite and a desire for this type of scheme evidenced by the high user numbers. We now need to find a way, using the latest technology, which will make it harder for people intent on vandalising or stealing bikes to get away with their actions.

"A feasibility study is underway that will give the Council clarity on the best way forward.It will look at the latest technology available including improvements in bike and scheme security, a review of global suppliers, and different operating and sponsorship models. We will also look at all available grant funding. This should enable us to go to the market for a replacement scheme that is fit for the future."

Cllr Bronwen Brooks, Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Member for Sustainable Places, said: "I'm disappointed that this joint scheme is no longer viable following a high level of vandalism.

"It has proven popular in the Vale and was an important part of the Council's Project Zero initiative to become carbon neutral by 2030.

"Promoting active forms of travel is central to that goal and we are committed to offering opportunities for residents to cycle, particularly when there is such significant demand for this type of transport.

"The Council will continue to operate the Brompton Bike hire system in Llantwit Major and is currently exploring options to replace the Nextbike scheme." 

Jess Strangward, Regional Operations Manager, Nextbike by TIER, commented,"It is sad that we have had to take the decision to close the Cardiff service as I know it was well used and liked by residents. Unfortunately, the rate of vandalism this year meant it was unfeasible for us to continue and offer a good service. We know the news will be disappointing to regular users and we can only apologise for that. We want to thank Cardiff and Vale Council, their residents, as well as our many partners for their support over the past five years." 

"There have been a number of micro-mobility schemes that have closed recently where vandalism was stated as a key factor: 2023 Zwings - Sunderland, 2022 Big Issue Bikes - Bristol, 2022 Leicester & Dundee, 2021 JustEast Cycles - Edinburgh, 2022 Leicester & Dundee. The Manchester cycle scheme had to reduce fleet roll out after over 70% of the fleet was damaged this year." 

Customers who have purchased memberships should contact customer service 

Regarding memberships - everyone will be proactively refunded by the end of January.