The future of the Milton Keynes Cycles Scheme is in doubt due to extensive vandalism of over half the bikes. The scheme was introduced in 2016 and designed to provide residents and visitors a simple, quick and affordable way to get around the city. As well as being a major local employer Santander has been working in partnership with scheme operator nextbike to provide the bikes and local social enterprise Cycle Saviours to service the scheme and manage all repairs.
The cycle hire scheme has proved popular in the city, with 98 per cent of locals believing the scheme to be a positive initiative for the area, but due to increasing vandalism towards the bikes, over half of the fleet have had to be taken off the road for repairs. Santander is now reviewing where the docking stations are situated, with the potential to close some of the stations where vandalism is consistently high and increasing security at others. Approximately 20 stations are likely to be closed temporarily due to the number of damaged bikes.
Keith Moor, Chief Marketing Officer at Santander said: “Santander introduced the cycle hire scheme to support the local community of Milton Keynes, as part of our goal to help people and businesses prosper.
“It is a great shame that the scheme, which is regarded highly by the community is being jeopardised by a small number of people seemingly determined to destroy it. We simply don’t understand the mind-set of those who willingly want to ruin an initiative that is there to help people get around, get active, explore and enjoy the many great things in Milton Keynes.
“We don’t want to withdraw the scheme but we’ll have to if this continues. I would appeal to the local community to help keep the cycle scheme alive.”
Julian Scriven, Managing Director of nextbike said: “We accept that in any scheme, there will be a degree of misuse and damage, but this is on another scale entirely. Vandals have used pickaxes, hammers and even angle grinders in their destructive spree. The worrying thing is that vandalism seems to have escalated since the schools broke up for the holidays.
'If it carries on like this, Milton Keynes won’t have a cycle hire scheme at all, which is really sad for those that value it.”
As a result of the recent rise in vandalism and thefts, nextbike has retrofitted additional GPS tracking and theft alert devices to the Santander MK cycles. These will directly alert the Police if bikes are being interfered with.
The scheme is not designed to generate profit, it is to support the local community. In the last year, the bikes have had over £200,000 worth of damage. Thames Valley Police and MK Council have worked jointly on operations to help identify and catch those responsible, and the council is also working with partners to help prevent future issues.
Police Constable David Smith, based at Milton Keynes Police Station said, “Thames Valley Police has been working closely with our partners in Milton Keynes in relation to preventing and detecting incidents in which bikes have been stolen or damaged. I would ask that all users of the bicycles ensure they are locked in to the bike racks correctly when they return to help to prevent theft.
“I would also encourage people who live and work in Milton Keynes to be vigilant - if you notice people damaging bikes – please report these incidents. This can be done by calling our non-emergency number 101 to allow us to identify offenders and to ensure they face the consequences of their actions.”
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Notes to Editors
Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 31 December 2016, the bank serves around 14 million active customers with c20,000 employees and operates through 841 branches (which includes 60 university branches) and 67 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.
Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, headquartered in Spain, with a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas. It is among the world’s top banks by market capitalization. The bank’s purpose is to help people and businesses prosper, in a way that is simple, personal and fair. Founded in 1857, Santander had EUR 1.52 trillion in managed funds, 125 million customers, 12,200 branches and 188,000 employees at the close of 2016. Santander made attributable profit of EUR 6,204 million in 2016, an increase of 4% compared to the previous year.
nextbike is the world’s largest bike share provider in the world with more than 120 schemes in 25 countries across the globe, including Dubai, Budapest, Riga and Glasgow.
Reporting damaged bikes
Abandoned and/or damaged bikes should be reported to the scheme operators on 020 8166 9851, at email@example.com or on twitter @nextbikeUK
The Santander Media Relations team on 0207 756 5952
Eilis Murphy or Robin Wrench at Brunswick 0207 404 5959
The Santander press office operates from 8.00am to 6.00pm. Outside of these hours please call 0800 5877708.