Chinese bike share business Yobike has been slammed for entering Bath without a licence, putting it direct competition with the city’s official supplier of hire bikes Nextbike.
Nextbike currently holds a contract with the city council, while the dock-free Yobike scheme has been cropping up in neighbouring Bristol. Given the freedom to drop bikes off almost anywhere within a certain radius, Yobike bicycles have now been discovered in Bath on a number of occasions, leading Nextbike to level an accusation of “coming in like a wrecking ball” at the Chinese operator.
Availability of bike share schemes around the globe is surging, with analysts predicting a doubling of availability on present levels by 2025.
Speaking to local news, Julian Scriven, MD of Nextbike said: “They entered Bristol a few weeks ago and we were pleased to see that as we want to see more sustainable transport schemes.
“Then about 10 days ago we had a call from a customer saying someone had dumped a YoBike at one of our racks and when I logged on the app I saw quite a few popping up in Bath.
“I found out they were encouraging people to use the sustainable transport corridor between Bristol and Bath which seemed a good idea.
“We did get hold of the council to stay they are not supposed to stay in Bath and when YoBikes were contacted they said they would get someone to pick them up.
“We thought it was just teething problems with a new start-up, but the bikes were still there at the end of the week and when we offered to pick them up for them they said they were coming to Bath.
“The council were surprised about this as while they did have the initial conversation with YoBike, they didn’t see the need for two sustainable bike schemes in the city.”
Dockless bike share schemes are currently causing problems in the far east, with piles of bikes from a surging number of suppliers lining streets in some districts.
Back in the UK and a “quality assurance standard” has now been proposed to regulate a fast growing industry.
Catch the full story here.