Bike hire back for 12 more months

RIDE ON: Bike hire.

RIDE ON: Bike hire.

THE BoomerangBike Hire scheme will be retained for 12 more months in Bathurst despite a disappointing take-up rate in the first nine months of operation.

Bathurst Regional Council has agreed to take up a one-year option to keep the Boomerang Bike Hire stations at the Bathurst Visitor Information Centre and Bathurst Aquatic Centre until September next year.

It costs council $1200 a month for each of the bike hire sites and council keeps 50 per cent of the hire revenue.

But a report from acting corporate services and finance director Aaron Jones shows the hire scheme ran at a significant loss for the first nine months of operation from September 2016 to June 2017.

.Just 109 bikes were hired across the two sites for a total revenue of $1601. Council’s share was $800.50 – a loss of around $20,000.

Despite the shortfall, though, councillors voted to take keep the scheme in place for another year, saying a lack of promotion meant the bike hire scheme was not reaching its full potential.

Councillor Ian North was one pushing for more time.

“When these figures first came in I was concerned but if we went with that attitude to the Bathurst 12 Hour we would have stopped it after a year or two when it didn’t do well – but look at the 12 Hour now,” he said.

“We’re talking about a healthy lifestyle here so we have to give schemes like this a chance.

“I don’t think we have advertised this very well – I think we have to keep on with the bike hire scheme but do a better job of letting people know about it.”

Councillor Bobby Bourke agreed.

“It’s been a cold winter so I think we have to give this company [Boomerang Bike Hire] a bit longer,” he said.

Only Cr Monica Morse opposed granting the 12-month contract extension.

“I really don’t think this is value for money,” she said.

“Yes, cycling is growing but that’s as a sport or a hobby, not as transport around town.”