Cyclists in Swansea will be back in the saddle from July 1 following the decision to re-open the University’s popular bike share scheme.
Run by nextbike in conjunction with Santander and Swansea University, the 70-bike scheme was closed down in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Its relaunch will coincide with the phased re-opening of Swansea city centre, say tourism bosses.
Launched in 2018, after the University beat stiff competition to win the Santander Cycles University Challenge, the scheme has helped thousands of students, locals and tourists ride confidently around the city and has recorded 25,000 rentals to date.
Now, with lockdown measures being eased, maintenance teams are working tirelessly to get the scheme back up and running to ensure users have the opportunity to favour two wheels instead of four.
“We are delighted to get the wheels back in motion for July 1,” said nextbike MD Krysia Solheim.
“Everyone involved in the scheme has worked tirelessly to make this happen and it will be a great sight to see the bikes back out on the streets.”
Greg Ducie, Director of Estates and Facilities Management at Swansea University, said: “I am delighted that this popular scheme is back as I know many people have been looking forward to using it again. I am also pleased that we can continue as the first cycle-friendly employer in Wales to encourage active travel during this time and thank Swansea County Council for their support.”
Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “This is another welcome move to complement the phased re-opening of Swansea city centre.
“The city centre looks different now due to our work with many others to keep the public safe at this time – and we continue to ask people to observe social distancing and stay safe.
“It will recover strongly after the pandemic and there are already many millions of pounds being invested there by public and private sectors.”
Mike Cherry, Manager at BikeAbility Wales said: :”BikeAbility Wales is looking forward to getting the Santander Cycles Swansea scheme rolling again. The charity's staff will regularly maintain and sanitise the bikes, to ensure the safety of all that use them.”
Ms Solheim said while cycling was the perfect way to keep a safe distance from other commuters, she urged riders to take sensible health precautions.
“We’re reminding all of our customers to take sensible and responsible measures when using the bikes, including following official social distancing rules, taking into account hand-washing and hygiene guidelines and not using our bikes if they are showing any Coronavirus symptoms.
“We’re sanitising the handlebars and bike computers of all bicycles in the field and in the workshop. We're also recommending customers wear gloves when using the bikes, as well as washing hands before and after use.”
She urged riders to pay heed to the following guidance:
- Follow local guidelines to protect yourself and your community
- Inspect your cycle before your ride
- Don't touch your face during and after cycling
- Always wash hands before and after every cycle ride. Wearing gloves is recommended.
- Practice social distancing when cycling to reduce the risk of transmission
Santander Cycles are available 24 hours a day and users can register and hire bikes in just a couple of minutes. The cycle-share scheme is one of the cheapest ways to get around a city, with fees starting from as little as 16p per day.
- More information on the service is at Nextbike.