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Vandals trash bikes earmarked for Cardiff key workers

The boss of Cardiff bike share operator nextbike today slammed vandals who have gone on a wrecking spree in the city, putting vital bikes out of action which were designed to help frontline NHS and essential workers get to work during the pandemic.

Nextbike bikes in Cardiff

Nextbike had joined forces with Cardiff University and Cardiff Metropolitan University to fund a scheme which enabled NHS workers and those offering essential support during the onslaught of coronavirus to use the bikes for free.

Yet mindless vandals have set about destroying large numbers of bikes, crippling the service and costing thousands of pounds.

Nextbike MD Krysia Solheim said she was at a loss for words.

“On the one hand we have frontline NHS workers trying to do their jobs and on the other we have a group of mindless vandals in the city seemingly intent on destruction.

“We have suffered from vandalism in the past but we didn’t think anyone could stoop so low as to actively destroy bikes which are helping keep critical workers safe in these traumatic times. These essential workers are keeping our families and loved ones alive.

“We have experienced a really high take-up of this scheme in Cardiff and we know key workers use it as a safe and effective mode of transport.

“The people of Cardiff have always stood behind our bike share scheme, even when we’ve had issues with technology, and we were delighted to put in place a service which helped our frontline workers.

“I am appalled.”

Ms Solheim said she would be working with the police and local authorities to examine CCTV footage and bring those to justice. She also called on members of the public to report any incidence of vandalism immediately.

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“Our local service team has also been impacted by the virus and they have put themselves on the frontline to provide this service to the community. We could have shut down the system and furloughed everyone. Instead, we chose to help.”

“The vandalism needs to stop otherwise it will jeopardise the entire scheme for everyone. If you see something suspicious, please immediately report it by calling 101 and direct message us on social media (@nextbikeUK) or email us ([email protected]). And most importantly, remember to use the system correctly and do not return bikes away from stations to help us protect the fleet.

Caro Wild, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport at Cardiff City Council, said: “I am appalled that this is happening. We have a number of key workers in the city who rely on nextbikes to get to work safely. We are continuing to work with nextbike and the police to stop this mindless vandalism.”

Nextbike’s frontline worker scheme had been replicated across the UK, with 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.

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