High bike hire costs put end to region-wide plans

A bike hire scheme launched in Dumfries has been such a failure, plans to roll it out across the region have been dropped.

The Bike2Go scheme was only used 2270 times at a cost of £144,170 - working out at £60 per hire.

At a meeting of the council’s planning, housing and environment committee in July, Labour councillors called for a detailed report on the cost of the scheme before any decision was made to expand to the other towns in the region.

As a result, a report will go before the committee next Tuesday detailing the costs.

The new chair of the committee, Colin Smyth, said: “The Labour Group have been deeply concerned about this scheme for some time because we simply don’t think it was value for money. This report shows we were correct. The scheme has worked out at £60 per rental and quite frankly it would have been cheaper for the Scottish Government and the others who provided the £140,000 funding, just to buy everyone who used it a new bike.

“We should be supporting cycling in other ways such as investing in cycle paths. The Bike2Go scheme was an experiment under the previous council administration and frankly it failed. That’s why the new administration will draw a line under it and won’t waste taxpayers’ money on introducing it to other towns. Once the bikes in Dumfries get to the stage where they need to be replaced we will simply have them removed unless a private company or voluntary group wants to take over running the bikes. There were a lot of positives in the Go Smart scheme such as the improvements to bus stops and travel advice, but it’s time to park the Bike2 Go scheme and move on. We will be taking some of those positives forward to other towns using a modest grant of £9000 from the Scottish Government.”