The world’s biggest bike-share operator has been chosen to deliver pedal-power to the West Midlands.
nextbike has been picked by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), to run bike-share, the UK’s largest docked bike-share scheme outside London.
The first bikes will be hitting the streets in September this year, when 2,000 are installed across Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton.
The remaining 3,000 bikes will be rolled out in phases that will also include Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Solihull in 2019, meaning each of the local authorities who are partners in the scheme will have bikes.
Docking stations will be located around key sites in the towns and cities involved, with bikes available 24 hours a day.
Annual membership to the scheme will cost just £30 per year, meaning riders can access the bikes for as little as 8p per day.
The landmark scheme will bring 50 jobs to the region, with posts including area managers, van drivers and mechanics.
Swift card members will be able to access the bikes as part of their regular subscription and payments will be fully integrated.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Cycling has an important role to play in tackling issues such as congestion, air pollution and health so I am really pleased we’ve reached the stage of announcing who will run the scheme in the West Midlands from September.
“Here in the West Midlands, our public transport is currently undergoing a revolution with new Metro extensions, plans to reopen rail routes and transform existing stations and new rapid transit bus services. The bike-share scheme will help support this, giving people options to use sustainable transport as part or all of their journey.
“I’m really looking forward to later in the year when we will have the first of these bikes on the streets in the West Midlands.”
Cllr Roger Lawrence, leader of Wolverhampton City Council and WMCA portfolio holder for transport, said: “Cities and towns right across Europe have schemes such as this as a way to cut congestion and drive up participation in cycling.
“It’s high time we had a similar thing in the West Midlands and I am delighted that Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Coventry will be the first places to see the bikes in action.”
Julian Scriven, nextbike UK MD, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be bringing nextbikes to the people of the West Midlands.
“We are able to offer the most technologically-advanced and forward-thinking bike-share scheme and fleet in the UK and it’s amazing that the people of Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley, Solihull and Coventry will be able to benefit from it.
“The interconnectivity it will offer is going to be brilliant, it will really help to make journeys across the Midlands seamless.
“We will be creating more than 50 new jobs across the area and we will be partnering with the Walsall-based Steps to Work charity to help fill the roles. They work with long-term unemployed and young people currently not in education or employment amongst others, and these are groups that we are passionate about reaching, retraining and recruiting here at nextbike.”