They’re one of the most successful editions to London’s transport options, and soon a ‘Boris Bike’-style bike sharing scheme may be heading to Royal Holloway. We spoke to Izabela Pawlic, one of the students who is currently pioneering the scheme here at Holloway, to find out what it’s all about and how likely it is we’ll see the bikes at our university in the future.
What is the NextBikes scheme all about?
NextBike is a German company that specialises in developing and operating public bike-sharing schemes around the world, currently on 3 continents and over 16 countries. NextBike UK has its headquarters in London and it provides public bike-sharing schemes in many of cities and universities in UK. Some of the locations include: Bath, Bristol, Glasgow, Stirling and Warwick University. It is the only company that offers a unique public bike-sharing schemes which are individually designed to all of the universities.
How would it benefit students at Royal Holloway?
Nextbike rental bikes are available 24/7. Bicycle users are normally obtained through a subscription system, where each bike is locked to either itself or to a rental station. As part of an agreement with the universities or student unions, students and staff are given a package of free memberships and rental rates are set individually to each university. Students and staff have access to any of the bikes in their city with additional stations installed on and around the campus itself as required. Plus when becoming a NextBike customer we are able to use bikes not only in the UK but anywhere we are in the world.
How far along in the planning stages is the scheme at Royall Holloway?
The project is run by five Royal Holloway Students: Megan Karlshøj-Pedersen, James Raven, Izabela Pawlic, Mikko-Waltteri Sihvola and Selina Pascale. With help and support from the Students’ Union, NextBike UK and a representative from the College. We have been working on this project since October 2014 and we are pleased to announce that our proposal and the proposal written by the representative from college have had a positive reception from the College’s Executive Committee who have now appointed two members from Campus Services who are currently writing a business case to be submitted to College’s Planning & Resources committee. If approved there it will be tendered out, the contract awarded and funded. Which is still a long way ahead of us but we are hoping to hear from the Campus Services soon and we are hoping that we will be able to see the bikes on campus within the next few months to a year time!
How can students get involved with the project?
We would love for more students to get involved in advertising our FaceBook page, RHUL NextBikes, where we post updates about our project but also other bike- related stories as well as information about Nextbike and other universities that have implemented the scheme. During this term we are also going to run a campaign called #bikes4bears to raise awareness of our project, get more people talking and to like our Fb page; and to enable students to share their opinions about the scheme but also to find out how and why they would use it. More details about the campaign will be available soon on our Facebook page