City coun­cil ‘try­ing to back-pedal on bike plan’

Eight months – and still no sign of cy­cles for hire

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JON HEBDITCH

Aberdeen op­po­si­tion lead­ers have crit­i­cised the rul­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion for fail­ing to get in gear with a pro­posed city bike hire scheme.

At a meet­ing of the coun­cil in March, coun­cil­lors in­structed of­fi­cers to pro­duce a busi­ness case for the in­tro­duc­tion of the plan.

In the same style as Lon­don’s “Boris bikes”, town house in­sid­ers nick­named the scheme “Bar­ney bikes” af­ter Lord Provost Bar­ney Crock­ett.

But there ap­pears to have been lit­tle progress in putting the plan into ac­tion and it is un­der­stood con­sul­tants will now be hired to re-ex­am­ine the idea.

Last night, op­po­si­tion op­er­a­tions spokes­woman Jackie Dun­bar said: “It’s over eight months since the pos­si­bil­ity of in­tro­duc­ing a cy­cle hire scheme was agreed by coun­cil­lors, yet we have seen ab­so­lutely no ac­tion from this ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“To com­pound mat­ters, we are now be­ing told that any hire scheme needs to be de­vised by con­sul­tants.

“Surely as a lo­cal author­ity we can take it upon our­selves to learn from oth­ers and al­low the pub­lic to hire a bike with­out procur­ing a con­sul­tant?

“You can travel to most cities in the world and take a bike from a rack or a stand us­ing a card, cash or app – we’re not ex­actly or­gan­is­ing Tour de France.”

A sim­i­lar scheme was con­sid­ered for Dundee but was halted in 2016 when coun­cil­lors were told they had no money to progress with it.

Dundee City Coun­cil said it would cost £1,000-a-year per bike just for main­te­nance.

Glas­gow City Coun­cil launched a bike-hire scheme in 2014 and has 435 bikes avail­able for hire at 43 train and un­der­ground sta­tions.

In Aberdeen, the bikes could be lo­cated and un­locked through a smart­phone app and left at the user’s des­ti­na­tion.

The city coun­cil aims to re­duce car traf­fic in the city to lower pol­lu­tion lev­els, with some city streets

“It’s time the SNP started work­ing... to move the city for­ward”

among the most pol­luted in Scot­land.

Coun­cil trans­port spokesman Ross Grant said: “The cy­cle scheme is an ini­tia­tive that has worked well in other cities and I’m pos­i­tive it will work well in Aberdeen.

“The scheme be­ing pro­gressed by of­fi­cers in­cludes a £40,000 con­tri­bu­tion by Aberdeen City Coun­cil as well as ex­plor­ing fur­ther fund­ing op­tions through Euro­pean Trans­port Fund­ing.

“It’s time that the SNP started work­ing in tan­dem to move the city for­ward in­stead of ap­ply­ing the brakes at ev­ery cor­ner.”

INI­TIA­TIVE: The scheme was nick­named ‘Bar­ney bikes’ af­ter the Lord Provost

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.