18 mar 19

New 5,000-strong bike share scheme targets business users

A new bike share scheme with a planned fleet of 5,000 bikes is targeting business customers in the West Midlands, UK. Nextbike also plans to integrate with mobility as a service operators to link cycling with public transport operators.

The West Midlands covers the highly populous cities of Birmingham (Britain’s second largest city), Coventry, Dudley, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

The first bikes and docking stations were launched last month, with nextbike planning an eventual infrastructure of 500 docking stations and 5,000 bikes, supported by three service and maintenance hubs.

One of the new scheme’s products is BusinessBike, which is designed for employers that want to provide either discounted or free membership to their staff.

Krysia Solheim, managing director of nextbike UK, said, “We’ve had lots of interest in our equipment partnership option, which includes having stations located outside offices or places of work. Employers are serious about providing transport options for their workforce and helping keep them healthy, and we are happy to co-locate stations to enable that.”

BusinessBike subscription costs

Nextbike is a subsidiary of nextbike GmbH, which runs over 200 bike share schemes worldwide. In mainland Europe its BusinessBike product offers three tariffs:

  • A subscription tariff of €4 per employee per month, with the first 30 minutes of every rental free of charge.
  • A pay-as-you-go tariff of €1 per 30-minute rental, with business-appropriate invoicing.
  • And a flex tariff of €4 per employee per month, with extra trips paid by the company.
  • Volume related discounts are available.

The launch price in the UK is a simple £0.50 per 30 minutes’ bike hire.

Integrating with Mobility as a Service

The West Midlands is also the UK launch region for MaaS Global’s mobility as a service Whim app, which currently offers pay-as-you-go access to ride hailing, bus, train and car hire services, with the promise that bike share is ‘coming soon’.

Nextbike said it will be “the UK’s first bike share scheme to be integrated with a region-wide smart ticketing system,” and Solheim added, "nextbike’s ultimate goal is interoperability across modes and we are keen to explore how the West Midlands scheme might integrate with Mobility as a Service providers. We believe that the key to smarter travel is through enabling multi-modal travel. We are currently in discussions with Whim to explore how we can achieve this in the region."

Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands, said, “The West Midlands bike share scheme is just one part of our plans to offer people healthy, sustainable and less polluting ways to get around our towns and cities which is why we are investing in cycle routes, buses, rail and the Metro.”

Authored by: Jonathan Manning