University refunds donations to Portsmouth bike scheme as council pushes ahead

The University of Portsmouth has been forced to pay back nearly �45,000 to those who donated to a 'Boris-bike' type scheme in the city because the city council is launching its own
The University of Portsmouth has been forced to pay back nearly �45,000 to those who donated to a 'Boris-bike' type scheme in the city because the city council is launching its own
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THE University of Portsmouth has had to return nearly £45,000 from a crowdfunding campaign for a ‘Boris Bike’-type scheme – because the city council is bringing in its own system

The university has been forced to pay back £44,137 after raising the money following a crowdfunding appeal to bring a Santander bike hiring scheme to Portsmouth by Easter.

It was competing alongside other universities for the chance to provide 50 Santander bikes.

If it had been successful, Santander would have provided £100,000 for 50 new bikes, plus docking stations around the university, Southsea and the seafront.

But the university has had to abandon its plans after the council backed a bike-sharing scheme that rendered the higher education organisation’s version redundant. The council scheme does not have ‘docked’ bikes.

Despite having to scrap its own bike scheme, the university’s vice chancellor professor Graham Galbraith said: ‘We are pleased that the city council has launched a bicycle-sharing scheme and we very much hope that the council’s “floating” bike scheme is a success.

‘It is our belief that it is better for the city to have a single bicycle scheme that can be universally supported, rather than two competing schemes. This being the case the university has, with some regret, decided to withdraw our own proposed “docked” – or Boris Bike – cycle scheme.

‘We have returned all of the money that individuals and organisations committed to our scheme. We would like to thank them for their support which was very much appreciated and for the hard work of our students in developing our proposal.’

The nextbike initiative will take place over an 18-month trial when it is launched in the summer. It will see bikes available to rent from 8p a day from city centre locations, such as train stations and shopping areas.

Nextbike operates in a number of cities including Bath, Cardiff and Coventry.

Pam Turton, the council’s assistant director for transport, said. ‘We are pleased to have nextbike on board with us and I am confident residents and visitors to Portsmouth will benefit from this easy-to-use public bike sharing scheme. Portsmouth is an ideal city for cycling as it is flat and compact. We expect to see people using nextbike to get to work or college, or to the many tourist attractions we have in Portsmouth. This bike scheme will complement our excellent provision of public transport while providing a healthy and enjoyable option for travelling in Portsmouth.’