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Oh Mo – no more Mobikes?

This is more than a ‘real shame’.  The Mobikes scheme, introduced in the summer of 2017, has resulted in more bike users in Greater Manchester and has resulted in a visible presence of bright orange bikes being used by everyday people going about their everyday business. This is what we need to move towards a critical mass where cycling is seen as a real, viable alternative to those short journeys into, from and across the city. It supports the Beelines plan to create cycle routes and make journeys by bike easily accessible for new bike users. Not everyone has a bike or has a bike with them at a particular moment when they need to get from A to B.

The scheme is operated through the Mobike app where the user registers personal details and a means of payment. Why aren’t those means of payment being charged for the actions of vandalism and breach of the scheme rules? It would be interesting to hear about the enforcement mechanism and success results. Would responsible users oppose a hiked deposit to try and mitigate against unwanted behaviour? There must be an alternative to draconian removal of all the bikes because of the actions of a few.

There are those who would state that perhaps the system is a little flawed; perhaps Manchester as a whole needs a little more structure to this system, similar to London, where bikes need to be docked and can be registered in that way.  For users who are not familiar with the system, Mobikes can appear to be strewn around the city, particularly outside the Central Library and other public gathering places, and this can make them look more of a nuisance and an eyesore than is actually intended.

Could more be done too, to make the bikes more tamper-proof?  Could (and should?) they be fitted with better alarms and tracking devices to deter would-be vandals from what has clearly been perceived as an easy target.  Although we target a critical mass, it seems we are far from it and a proscribed method with clearer, heavier implications as to what can happen should you damage a bike could be an answer; after all, if GMP Moss Side and Hulme have to resort to DM’ing Mobike on twitter to give them back vandalised Mobikes, it doesn’t exactly seem suggestive of in-depth collaboration with the local authorities. 

I genuinely hope that the scheme can be saved; it will be a big loss if we can’t save it, and I will be waiting with bated breath to see what happens next. 

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