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Brakes put on town bike hire scheme

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Brakes put on town bike hire scheme

DOUBT hangs over a £150,000 public bike hire scheme in Dumfries.

The distinctive orange bicycles were withdrawn from hire locations around the town in October by Dumfries and Galloway Council, who said they were looking to relaunch the scheme this spring.
But with no sign of the bikes returning, a spokesman this week said: “Bike2Go was a Scottish Government funded scheme with a time-limited budget from the Government.
“The council is aiming to submit a funding bid to support a voluntary sector partner to provide future support for the bikes, as well as local employment.
“The bikes are currently being stored following refurbishment.”
Bike2Go launched in 2010, but three years later the 42 bikes had been hired just 2270 times – working out to a cost of more than £60 per rental.
Nithsdale Furniture Project now confirm they are in discussions with the council to take over the project, but it is dependent on the local authority finding more funding.
Manager Alan McLauchlan said: “Obviously there are council cutbacks, and the council’s going to have to apply for funding in order for us to progress this any further.”
Mr McLauchlan says Nithsdale Furniture Project is well placed to maintain the bicycles and eight hire points.
He said: “We want to use these bikes that would otherwise go to landfill so that we’d be able to refurbish them, teach biking skills to young people and encourage cycling within Dumfries and Galloway.”
Sally Hinchcliffe, of Cycling Dumfries, says trying to bring back bikes already bought and paid for would be welcome, describing the project as having become ‘a bit neglected’.
But urging attention in other areas, she added: “There are bigger issues with cycling in Dumfries than access to hire bikes – the main thing is cycle paths, and I think that’s where originally the money should have gone.
“There isn’t really a complete network, and what there is isn’t well signposted, isn’t maintained and isn’t gritted in the winter.”
Dumfries and Galloway Council meanwhile say they are seeking discussions with ScotRail over a scheme which could see it introduce hire bicycles at selected stations.

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