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Nextbike to pull out of Cardiff following bike vandalism


Cardiff’s on-street bike hire scheme, known as OVO Bikes, is due to cease operation by the end of the year due to a sustained high level of vandalism. Nextbike by TIER, the service’s operator, and Cardiff Council and Vale of Glamorgan have reached an agreement to close the service as it has become financially unsustainable to continue to replace the bikes which have been damaged, destroyed or stolen.

Since the service launched in 2018 users have made close to 2 million journeys. Nearly 3,000 bikes have been stolen, damaged or vandalised during the service’s run, with the rate of vandalism having increased in 2023. The contract with nextbike by TIER would have naturally come to an end early in 2025 and the council has already started work to look at how it can procure a new and updated scheme and what that scheme might look like.

Jess Strangward, Regional Operations Manager, Nextbike by TIER, commented: “It is sad that we have had to take the decision to close the Cardiff service as I know it was well used and liked by residents. Unfortunately the rate of vandalism this year meant it was unfeasible for us to continue and offer a good service. We know the news will be disappointing to regular users and we can only apologise for that. We want to thank Cardiff and Vale Council, their residents, as well as our many partners for their support over the last five years.”

Cllr Dan De’Ath, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport at Cardiff Council said: “It is extremely disappointing that the scheme is ending earlier than it was scheduled to do, as it was nextbike’s most successful scheme in the UK in terms of usership with more than 2 million rentals over its life. However, the issue with vandalism and theft has created a huge impact on the scheme with such a high number of bikes stolen or vandalised leaving a much-reduced fleet available for use.

“This has left both Cardiff Council and Nextbike with little choice in taking the difficult decision to close the scheme permanently.

“A feasibility study is underway that will give the Council clarity on the best way forward and is looking at the latest technology available. This includes improvements in bike and scheme security, reviewing a variety of suppliers and different operating and sponsorship models alongside available grant funding. This will enable us to go to the market for a replacement scheme that is fit for the future.

“The Cardiff scheme has, despite its challenges it has been an immensely popular scheme with a significant number of users and we thank its dedicated and loyal customers for their support. The Council is optimistic that we can find a partner who can help us deliver the next stage in cycle hire options at the right time for the city.”

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