Exeter’s bikeshare, Co Bikes, relaunches on Friday, having been suspended in early June – thus missing the peak summer season.
The system was, and still is, an electric system supplied by nextbike and operated by a local cooperative (hence the co- in the name), and promises a substantially larger system of “just under 100 bikes” and 14 docking stations. Nextbike appears to be handling telephone support as their London number is listed as the number for users to call with queries.
Bike Share Map is already showing a couple of bikes available and 7 docking stations operating, ahead of Friday’s launch.
The main change from the older system which ran from October 2016 until June this year, is that it is hybrid – it has the ability to allow journeys to start and finish away from the docking stations. It will also, according to the publicly, be much larger – up to 5 times the size. The older system had a maximum of 20 bikes available, scattered across 7 docking stations which were well placed at railway stations, university campuses and key civic points but ultimately limited the possible journeys. Bikes in the older system could in fact be left out of docking stations but this was not encouraged by the operator.
The combination of expensive electric bikes which can be left anywhere in any British city always brings concerns about theft and vandalism, but hopefully Exeter will succeed where Derby, Manchester, Stockport and Newcastle have failed.