This year has been a turbulent one for bike share. Two dockless bike share operators, Mobike and ofo, have dramatically reduced their operating areas in the UK - withdrawing from cities for various reasons including ‘vandalism and theft’. With this in mind, it’s clear that the development of bike share in the UK is not straightforward.
In this context, the 2018 launch of the Cardiff bike share scheme is extremely interesting. The scheme was an almost instant success with more than double the UK average number of trips per bike per day.
Cardiff bike share is a docked scheme operated by nextbike as the result of a tendering process run by Cardiff City. It has a diverse funding base including partnership, sponsorship and income from use, and an agreed initial period of operation.
Whilst the scheme was fortunate to have launched officially at the beginning of a particularly warm dry summer, other schemes also benefitted from favourable weather. Nextbike provided statistics from two schemes; Glasgow and Milton Keynes, over the same period for the purposes of analysis and comparison.
This report looks at the factors which have contributed to the success of the Cardiff scheme. It aims to tease out the contributions made by the physical characteristics of the place, the types of people using the scheme and the partners who created and run the scheme to identify any ‘stand out’ explanations for its success.