A landmark scheme to provide frontline workers in Cardiff with free use of the city’s nextbike scheme has been extended for another month thanks to support from Cardiff University.
Nextbike and Cardiff University have match-funded the continuation of the scheme to enable NHS workers and those offering critical support during the coronavirus pandemic to use the bikes for free in June.
It follows similar rollouts in Glasgow, Stirling and Hillingdon in London, where free memberships have been offered to key workers who are still having to travel to and from work during the pandemic.
Nextbike MD Krysia Solheim thanked the university, as well as Pedal Power which continues to operate the system locally and who have become essential workers themselves.
“We were really pleased to be able to offer this support last month to our frontline workers, delivering a service with as much safety as possible on their commute to work,” she said.
“To be able to extend that for a further month, while the virus is still putting a huge strain on our NHS, makes us very proud. We are eternally grateful to Cardiff University and the team at Pedal Power for making this happen.”
She also called on the business community in the region to support the continuation of the funding so more key workers could use nextbike to travel safely.
“We have already spoken to a number of businesses in and around the city who are keen to see more people on bikes, particularly frontline workers, but if there are others that would like to join us to extend this program further into the summer, please reach out.”
During the first month, over 250 essential workers redeemed memberships. The scheme will offer an additional 500 free memberships to NHS staff and other essential workers, which means the first 30 minutes of every rental is free. The memberships are valid for one month from redemption and are first come first served.
Cardiff University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan said he was delighted to be able to extend the scheme. “These are extremely difficult and challenging times. It’s only right that we continue to do our bit to help key workers – especially our frontline NHS staff – who are still having to travel to and from work during the pandemic.”
Ms Solheim said while cycling was the perfect way to keep a safe distance from other commuters during the pandemic, she urged riders to take sensible health precautions.
“We’re reminding all of our customers to take sensible and responsible measures when using the bikes, including following official social distancing rules, taking into account hand-washing and hygiene guidelines and not using our bikes if they are showing any Coronavirus symptoms.
“We’re cleaning the handlebars and bike computers of all bicycles in the field and in the workshop. We’re also recommending customers wear gloves when using the bikes, as well as washing hands before and after use.”
The fleet remains operational for regular customers, who can still use the bikes to get their daily dose of exercise and essential trips.
For information on how to redeem the membership visit www.nextbike.co.uk/en/covid-19-information/