Beryl has suspended its cycle hire scheme in Enfield just three months after its launch, reports James Cracknell
Vandalism has led a bike hire company to suspend its scheme in Enfield – the second such firm to do so in less than two years.
The decision by Beryl Bikes to withdraw its distinctive emerald green bicycles from the borough comes just three months after it launched. In an email to its customers, the company said the scheme would be suspended “as we investigate issues with vandalism and availability of bikes”.
On the very first weekend after the scheme was launched in June, a Beryl bike was found upside down on top of a bus shelter in Edmonton. Later, another bike was found dumped in the Turkey Brook (pictured). The 50 green parking bays where bikes were supposed to be hired from were also often empty, with users finding it difficult to locate their nearest bike.
Beryl’s withdrawal from the borough is a blow to Enfield Council, which had championed the scheme as a way to make cycling more accessible and help reduce local car journeys. A council spokesperson said: “Beryl made the commercial decision to suspend its bike share scheme in Enfield from Monday 23rd September.
“Talks are ongoing between Enfield Council and Beryl on potential next steps. Those users with accounts for the bike share scheme should contact Beryl directly for information on refunds.”
“The first months of the bike share trial in Enfield have shown a growing demand for affordable access to short bike rides. Enfield Council is keen to support affordable, accessible and active travel options across the borough and will continue to look at a number of options to work alongside its growing cycle infrastructure.”
A previous bike hire scheme in Enfield run by Urbo was not extended beyond an initial trial in early 2018. On the day of Beryl’s launch, the firm’s co-founder and chief executive Phil Ellis told the Dispatch: “This is not a trial – we are going to be here for years.”
A council spokesperson said the authority had not lost any money from Beryl’s suspension and that it was hoped a solution could be found that allowed it to return.
Beryl continues to operate in the City of London and anyone with pre-bought cycling minutes on their Beryl account can use them to hire bikes there instead.
In better news for local cycling, the council has secured £120,000 funding from Transport for London to help improve cycle parking facilities in the borough. This will go towards 180 secure cycle-parking spaces to residents, providing safe and secure storage.
The council has also pledged to create several “low traffic neighbourhoods” to help make streets quieter and safer. Deputy leader Ian Barnes said: “Enfield Council is committed to introducing low traffic neighbourhoods – we have a clear vision for the future where residential streets are rescued from high levels of speeding traffic cutting through to shave a few seconds off their journeys.
“We will be working with residents to help return these streets to the people who live there, creating places where people of all ages can walk, cycle and play without fear of speeding rat-runners.”
In most areas the council will conduct trials so that residents can experience the changes before final decisions are made. Read more at cycleenfield.co.uk/quieter-neighbourhoods.