Our say | 50,000 reasons to drop the bike hire scheme

SOMETIMES, the question is not if you should cut your losses but when.

But a $50,000 loss over two years should be a compelling reason in anyone’s language to cut and run on even the best-laid plans.

That is the equation facing Bathurst councillors on Wednesday night when they come to discussing the future of council’s partnership with the Boomerang Bikes hire scheme.

Council entered the partnership with Boomerang Bikes in 2016 with nothing but good intentions.

The success of the city’s new velodrome and BMX circuit proved that cycling was booming in Bathurst and the experience in many larger cities was that hire bikes were seen as a convenient way to get around.

Council offered up two of its facilities – the Bathurst Visitor Information Centre and Bathurst Aquatic Centre – to host the bike hire stations and was set to take 50 per cent of all the revenue coming in.

Almost two years on, however, we now know that the revenue just isn’t there.

Simply, this scheme has been a flop and even a concerted advertising and social media push at the start of the year has done nothing to lift usage numbers.

There may be a good reasons that people do not want to hire a bike to see Bathurst.

First, the weather for much of the year is not conducive to cycling.

At the moment, only the most hardy of cyclists dare get out on the road. Families visiting from other towns and cities are, understandably, less keen.

Another reason might be the fact that there simply is not that much to see.

As much as we love our region, a cycle tour could only really take in the central business district and would probably miss many of our main attractions.

Perhaps we need to concede that car or bus is the best way to see Bathurst.

That said, council should not be criticised for giving this a go. If we are too quick to condemn with hindsight then we cannot hope for too much foresight.

But now the numbers are in and now council has given this its best shot, it is time to end the Boomerang Bikes partnership.

The $50,000 we have already on this scheme lost is already long gone, let’s not throw another $50,000 at it hoping it might finally come good.

The customer is always right and the customer has clearly spoken. It is up to council to listen.