Agency seeks substitute for NextBike's shelved hire fleet

By Mathew Dearnaley

Auckland Transport is seeking proposals for a replacement public bicycle hire scheme to be established in time for the Rugby World Cup. Photo / Natalie Slade
Auckland Transport is seeking proposals for a replacement public bicycle hire scheme to be established in time for the Rugby World Cup. Photo / Natalie Slade

Auckland Transport is seeking proposals for a replacement public bicycle hire scheme to be established on a trial basis in time for the Rugby World Cup.

The Auckland Council agency has issued an international call for expressions of interest after a lack of advertising revenue forced privately owned NextBike, which offered subscribers free rides for up to 30 minutes, to remove its 170-strong fleet from the streets of central Auckland and Takapuna in November.

NextBike, which has its German-designed bikes in storage, could not be contacted yesterday but is understood to be likely to put forward a new proposal seeking public subsidies.

The council's transport committee turned down a request last month from the company for emergency funding of about $1.4 million, but recommended to Auckland Transport that it seek proposals for a replacement scheme.

It passed a resolution acknowledging the benefits of a public hire scheme but noting there was no money in any council budget for that purpose, and that funding on such a scale required a transparent and contestable procurement process.

Auckland Transport's formal request for proposals said that more than 200 public bike schemes were in place around the world and the concept fitted strategically into its TravelWise initiative aimed at encouraging more sustainable travel to businesses, workplaces, schools and tertiary institutions.

It said a short-term objective would be running a trial scheme for the Rugby World Cup in September and October before developing the concept across the region.

It would consider cases for public funding and any budgetary implications later in the procurement process.

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