10 May 2019

Bike share operator can double fleet in 12-month extension

| Ian Bushnell
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The Australian-owned company Airbike released a fleet of 200 dockless bikes in Canberra at the end of July. Photos: Supplied by Airbike.

Australian-owned Airbike successfully managed 200 dockless bikes during the Canberra trial. Photo: Airbike.

The bike share company that was able to trial its operations in the ACT last year will be able to double its fleet to 400 after being given the go ahead to continue for another 12 months.

Airbike has been granted an extended land use permit from 30 April, and will be able to expand in small, controlled batches, according to Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris.

E-bikes will also be considered in the expansion.

The bikes will continue to be released within the operational zone in central Canberra, including the Australian National University (ANU), the Civic Centre and the Parliamentary Zone.

The ACT Government, the Australian National University and the National Capital Authority (NCA) launched a six-month trial of dockless bike share with Airbike on 31 July 2018, amid Australia-wide concerns about share bikes being vandalised and abandoned.

Ms Fitzharris said the trial partners worked cooperatively to develop simple, clear rules and expectations to manage public safety and amenity.

She said that during the trial the bikes were well used, with the highest usage between Civic and the ANU and Braddon. Users generally parked the bikes either in the specially marked bike share parking, or in bike racks or placed them in the open for the next user or collection by Airbike.

“Damage to the bikes was minimal and early initial complaints about ‘abandoned’ bikes diminished as the community became accustomed to share bikes positioned around the city. Airbike exceeded expectations responding to all urgent requests for removal of bikes within an average of 23 minutes; and non-urgent reports within 24 hours,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“The trial demonstrates that bike share can be successful when the parties work together and showcased Canberra as an innovative, bicycle-friendly city that values good health, community and environmental outcomes.”

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Most bikes are looking very tired already with the majority needing maintenance. Plenty of broken spokes and dodgy brakes. Perhaps 1 in 5 bike has a helmet and I can’t remember the last time I saw one that still had lights. Those response times are laughable too, the government believes anything……

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