Vandalism and Theft End the Cardiff Trip of Nextbike

People in Cardiff said they are going to miss getting around town on bikes when a rental scheme closes at the end of the year.

OVO BIKES will cease to operate in the city at the end of 2023 with the end of the scheme blamed on vandalism and theft.

The £800,000 bike hire scheme was being provided to taxpayers by the Welsh Government. It follows a spate of malicious vandalism which resulted in more than 3,000 bikes being stolen or damaged.

Cllr Dan De’Ath, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport at Cardiff Council said: “It is extremely disappointing that the scheme is ending earlier than it was scheduled to do, as it was nextbike’s most successful scheme in the UK in terms of usership with more than 2 million rentals over its life. However, the issue with vandalism and theft has created a huge impact on the scheme with such a high number of bikes stolen or vandalised leaving a much-reduced fleet available for use.”

Nextbike says the rate of vandalism “meant it was unfeasible for us to continue and offer a good service”

“It’s a great shame that,” says Alex Barker, a resident of Cardiff. “Cardiff is really going to miss the convenience and accessibility that OVO bikes provided to its residents and visitors.

At the same time, Cardiff University has posted news of the termination on its intranet because they have supported Cardiff’s on street bike hire scheme since it began in 2018. This included financial sponsorship, permission to locate stations on or near university buildings and subsidised annual memberships for staff and students.

Zhengyang Liu, a student from the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University, said, ” Cycling is a good option, as it takes 25-30 minutes to walk from the student flat to the academic building. However, since registering for OVO Bikes in October, I have barely used a bike because the OVO Bike spaces around the neighbourhood are often empty. I’ve been considering buying a second-hand bike to save time on walking.”

It’s hard to meet a bike in front of Cardiff Central Station, even when people aren’t busy.

The leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Cardiff Council, Councillor Rodney Berman, said: “I really do hope that the council can find an alternative provider and that they can do so quickly. Otherwise, we’re going to fail on the ambition of seeking to reduce congestion on our roads – something that is very badly needed in our city.”