Manchester

Rival bike firm NextBike eyeing Manchester after Mobike exit

The bikes ready for hire in Orange Grove, Bath
Image caption NextBike says it would need funding or sponsorship to make cycle sharing schemes work in the city

A rival bike hire company said it would be interested in running a Manchester cycle share scheme after Mobike pulled out.

The Chinese firm blamed vandalism for its decision to leave

NextBike, which runs schemes across Europe, said it was looking into opening in the city.

Meanwhile, Mobike said it could be interested in coming back if "the city or sponsors" can help to fund the system.

Julian Scriven, managing director of NextBike UK, said he wanted to work with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) to bring a rental scheme to Manchester using docked bikes.

Manchester's Cycling and Walking Commissioner Chris Boardman said he was exploring a replacement for Mobike and was "confident that, in a matter of months, we'll have the right system for Manchester".

'Minority have ruined it'

Germany-based NextBike has operated in the UK for four years and rents bikes in Glasgow, Cardiff, Milton Keynes and Exeter.

Mr Scriven said NextBike would need funding to come to Manchester, either from a public body or a sponsor.

Asked how NextBike would avoid the levels of damage and vandalism that forced Mobike to withdraw from Manchester, Mr Scriven said: "If communities feel they own the scheme, it gets a lot less anti-social behaviour towards it."

NextBike launched in the UK with 100 bikes in Bath in 2014, charging users £1 for 30 minutes up to a maximum of £10 per day.

Image caption Mobike is leaving Manchester because of high levels of theft and vandalism

Steve Milton, head of growth for Mobike, said he was disappointed there was "a minority that has ruined it for the majority" of users in Manchester but acknowledged the company had made mistakes.

"If the city or sponsors can help us fund the system, we'd be interested in coming back, for sure," he added.

"NextBike is a very good scheme as well and the research suggests that once there is more than one player in a market, it creates a network effect and becomes more popular.

"Working with another provider could be the best solution for Manchester."

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