Citybike docking stations in Liverpool which are used less than once a day are being removed over the next few weeks in a drive to reduce costs.
There have been around 300,000 rentals to date, with usage up significantly year on year, and those using the bikes have cycled a total of 1.4 million miles so far.
But the size and scale of the operation means that, in common with other bike hire schemes, it requires an annual subsidy to cover the costs of repairs and maintenance – and data shows that 80 percent of the hires come from just 20 percent of the docking stations.
A total of 33 stations which have less than 25 hires a month are being removed, following a decision in August to bring the scheme under council control from operator Hourbike and save £100,000 a year.
Councillor 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.”
There will be no loss of bikes from the network as they will simply be deployed elsewhere.
The docking stations being removed are:
• ASDA Hunts Cross
• Hillfoot Avenue, Hunts Cross
• Woodend Avenue, Hunts Cross
• Brownlow Hill West (next to the multistorey car park)
• Lime Street Station (at Skelhorne Street/Copperas Hill)