Over the last 3 years Nextbike has proven that there is a demand for public bikes in
Auckland, and New Zealand. The Auckland public bikes have been regularly used
by both locals and visitors, with thousands of registered riders and the majority of
all rides ridden for free, as one way trips. The findings from the last three years are
supported by a large data base of all the rentals made over the period. This
demonstrates that Nextbikes provide another mode of public transport and very
effectively complements existing buses and train services. Indeed the availability of
Nextbikes on a 24/7 basis and freedom to take any route, provide an additional
public transport facility to bus and train services.. There are further benefits
accruing from a public bike system, including that it is a healthy option, a
contribution is made to congestion on public transport, and increasing the number
of bike riders increases the profile and safety of bike users in general.
Unlike most countries with public bike schemes, New Zealand has a compulsory
bicycle helmet law. Both Melbourne and Brisbane have tried to implement public
bike scheme and provide subsidised helmets through selected local convenience
stores, the bikes have been used very little. Helmets must be provided with each
bike at the time of rental. Nextbike is the only company that can do this.
Whilst Nextbikes is able to offer opportunities for advertising or naming rights on its
bikes, experience has shown it is not possible to operate a public bike rental
system on a standalone commercial basis. Hence, as with buses and trains some
public funding is required. This will require that any public body such as a city
council, seek tenders for the provision of a public bike scheme. In Auckland,
Auckland Transport wants to secure the benefits of a public bike system and has
recently issued a request for Expressions of Interest for the provision of a public
bike system. This is currently in progress.
In Wellington, Nextbike would recommend at least 250 bikes across a network of
40 rental stations through the central city. About 2/3rd of the costs to setup and run
the system for 4 years would come from local government and the New Zealand
Transport Agency. 1/6th of the costs come from selling the commercial naming
rights and 1/6th bicycle rental charges. The Nextbike system can deliver a return
of $2.35 for every dollar invested by local government which is a high figure for
public sector investments. Provision of a public bike rental system, is also a strong
statement about a city's commitment to sustainability and innovation.