Anger as ‘Street’s Cy­cles’ to be made by Ger­man firm

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Neil Elkes Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Cor­re­spon­dent

THE Mid­land com­pany which makes Lon­don’s fa­mous ‘Boris Bikes’ has hit out af­ter it was an­nounced the West Mid­lands bike share con­tract has gone to a Ger­man firm.

Strat­ford-upon-Avon based Pash­ley Cy­cles is one of Bri­tain’s long­est es­tab­lished cy­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers, and says it could have cre­ated ten jobs if it had won the con­tract to sup­ply 5,000 bikes for use on the streets of the West Mid­lands.

But Trans­port for the West Mid­lands, which awarded the con­tract, ar­gued the Ger­man owned com­pany Nextbike made a su­pe­rior bid – of­fer­ing more bikes at lower cost to the con­sumer and fit­ting in with the re­gion’s Swift card sys­tem.

It means the high-tech cy­cles will be made at a fac­tory in Leipzig and will be on the streets of Birm­ing­ham by Septem­ber.

Pash­ley pro­vides Lon­don’s San­tander bikes, pre­vi­ously nick­named Boris Bikes, the largest bike share scheme in the coun­try.

The row has echoes of the de­ci­sion to use a French com­pany to pro­duce the new blue pass­ports for the UK af­ter Brexit. Pash­ley Cy­cles’ gen­eral man­ager Steve Bell said: “Hav­ing the bikes built in our fac­tory in Strat­ford would have gen­er­ated a fur­ther ten new jobs which will now be based in Leipzig.

“Buy­ing these bikes from Ger­many is turn­ing our back on our own hard pressed medium-sized busi­nesses here in the Mid­lands. We are a fam­ily-owned com­pany in­vest­ing in sourc­ing UK made goods, made by lo­cal peo­ple. With Brexit just around the corner we need to sup­port our own com­pa­nies, not at a higher cost of course, but at the same or bet­ter value for money than those sourced over­seas.

“We are con­fi­dent our lo­cally-built bikes would have rep­re­sented at least the same value but we would have gen­er­ated greater value for money through an eco­nomic mul­ti­plier im­pact.”

Lib Dem can­di­date for Strat­fordupon-Avon Do­minic Skin­ner said the re­gion had missed a chance to back its own busi­ness.

He said: “It is ironic that our own lo­cal busi­ness is pro­duc­ing San­tander’s new bikes for Lon­don, but that their ‘home city’, Birm­ing­ham, has opted to pur­chase bikes from Ger­many.”

A Trans­port for West Mid­lands spokesman said: “Pash­ley make ex­cep­tional bikes and are a fan­tas­tic ex­am­ple of high qual­ity West Mid­lands man­u­fac­tur­ing.

“How­ever, a key ele­ment of our re­quire­ment was that the scheme should fully in­te­grate with our wider tram, train and bus net­work by us­ing the Swift travel smart­card to hire the bikes. Pash­ley were aligned with a ri­val bid­der whose of­fer did not in­te­grate Swift but in­stead pro­posed a sep­a­rate pay­ment sys­tem in ad­di­tion to a mo­bile phone app. This bid was also heav­ily fo­cused on Birm­ing­ham rather than the wider West Mid­lands, and of­fered a lower num­ber of bikes – around 3,000, com­pared to the 5,000 pro­posed by the win­ning bid.

“The suc­cess­ful Nextbike bid also met the Swift re­quire­ment and of­fered a much lower hire charge for peo­ple us­ing the bikes.”

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