Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds peddles idea of hire bike scheme

Hire bikes
Image caption Leeds City Council has asked for tenders from bike-sharing firms

A fleet of public hire bikes could soon be on the streets of Leeds as the city council looks for a company to run the sharing service.

Attempts to reach a partnership with Chinese company ofo failed at the 11th hour.

The authority says it is now speaking to a number of other companies to kick-start the scheme.

Bikes are rented with card payment and then left at the nearest "docking station" to the rider's destination.

Bikes vandalised

Approval has now been given to formally tender the scheme and seek a company to run the service, the Local Democracy Reporting Service says.

In 2018 a similar scheme in Sheffield saw the hire bikes vandalised and dumped, with a neighbourhood police team eventually refusing to deal with the dumped cycles.

Leeds City Council's head of transport and planning, Richard Lewis, said: "We went back to the drawing board.

"I think we will have a lot of interest - with the number of firms coming in who could fulfil this role, we will have a choice."

Conservative group leader Councillor Alan Lamb said the potential problems of dumped cycles needed to be considered carefully.

Previous problems

He said: "We need to get reassurances on recovery of the bikes and that they are not going to be littered around communities."

Mr Lewis said he was aware of previous problems in other cities.

"But this is a scheme where you know exactly where they are the whole time, and if someone does throw a bike in the river, they will have to pay for it," he said.

Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Stewart Golton said: "I read the report with one eyebrow raised because of other bike share schemes.

"We have come to this late on, which means we may have learned from some of the mistakes from other cities."

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