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Dumfries cycle hire scheme suspended after just two rentals a day

City promises relaunch - but locals say bikes are clunky and hard to find

The Dumfries cycle hire scheme has been suspended over the winter, with almost every Bike2Go cycle removed for "maintenance and overhaul” - and very low uptake of the project.

Dumfries and Galloway Council said the bikes will be returned when the scheme is relaunched in conjunction with a similar project run by ScotRail, but the 155,000 scheme which began in 2010 has never been a success.

It has provided bikes free of charge to subscribers at 11 locations across the town - but three years after the launch just two bikes a day had been rented - a total of just 2,270 rides.

A survey by BBC Scotland found just one cycle now remaining in the city - at the King George V playing fields.

Sally Hinchcliffe, of Cycling Dumfries, said: "It's a shame that the bikes weren't more successful, but the few times we have used them in the past we found the rental system very clunky to use and sometimes it just wouldn't work at all, although most people who actually managed to rent one of the bikes enjoyed riding them.

"We hope that the relaunch will include discussions with local groups about how to make the most of the bikes - perhaps an on-street rental scheme isn't the best use for them.

"For instance, they could be integrated into Abellio's Scotland-wide bike hire scheme based at the station, or be made available to community groups for bike rides or loan bikes."

One subscriber to the scheme, Chris Henry, told the BBC he struggled to find one of the bikes, run by Hourbike, when he needed one.

He said: "I hadn't realised the significance of the name 'hourbike' is that you must walk for an hour, passing at least five empty bike stations, to locate a bike."

A spokeswoman for Dumfries and Galloway Council said: "We are looking to relaunch the Bike 2 Go scheme in the spring, in conjunction with ScotRail's launch of their national 'Bike and Go' hire scheme at Dumfries Station.

"We are working with ScotRail to source local maintenance and support for both schemes for the future, and it is therefore appropriate to postpone return of the bikes to their stances until the spring of 2016."

 

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