Council Decision On Nextbike


Paris scheme

Auckland City Council’s transport committee held its promised discussion today about what to do about the Nextbike commercial bike rental scheme.

While strongly supporting the concept, it threw the long term issue to the new council and Auckland Transport body to think about, while extending the required street trading licence to give breathing space for such a discussion.
A report to today’s meeting continued to raise the council’s concern about the amount of signage that accompanies such a public bike hire scheme and the issue of parked bikes blocking pedestrian access.
The committee requested council  officers to work with Nextbike to “further explore the methods for advertising that better aligns with the council’s goals regarding achieve a quality street environment that is pedestrian focused and keeps the signage in the street to a minimum.”

Brisbane's scheme

Nextbike, while given a further 12 months, has to continue to use the current number of racks, can not use other street furniture for parking the bikes and a review will  be carried out into the regulatory conditions Nextbike operates under.

The council committee also considers any future location of bike racks should be considered “firstly for key public transport, interchanges and community use as a priority with secondary consideration for priority to support the public bike hire scheme.”

Some months ago, a Nextbike representative made a presentation to the committee. Nextbike has been operating its advertising -  funded scheme in central Auckland for the past three years but to be commercially sustainable, said it now requires to expand its operation.
Nextbike had asked to continue using the existing 101 public bikes racks but to expand its business by increasing the amount of bikes it operates to 250 and also wanted the council to install the further 149 bike racks.

London's scheme

The council report said it would have to find $500,000 annually plus the cost of additional bike racks to operate such a public bike hire system if there was no revenue from advertising.

The council couldn’t find that money and endorsed the idea of a commercial operator funded scheme with advertising on billboards or on the bike.
The committee endorsed the need for the service to be subject of a tender.
So I asked Nextbike’s Julian Hulls how he felt after the meeting and recommendation (which goes to the full council):
He said: “From our position it feels like Auckland City says it strongly supports public bikes BUT:

  • It will not move forward till sometime in 2011 when the new Auckland Transport CCO has time.
  • The officers have recommended an “Operator Funded” public bike hire scheme that they acknowledge can fail without some extra local government funding
  • Nextbike will need to continue to operate a unique public transport network across the central city suburbs that reduces congestion and keeps users fit and healthy, but riders will not be able to start or end rides in Ponsonby and Parnell
  • Nextbike can carry on operating its free ride services but only using its current fleet numbers, even though it has been shown that we need to get upto 250 bikes to run a profitable business.”

His conclusion: “The support doesn’t feel very strong.”




  1. karl says:

    Sad. Thrown it into the too hard basket, it seems.

  2. Stranded on the North Shore says:

    Cities around the world embrace this kind of a service, and what we do? Pathetic.


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