Frontline workers in Cardiff will be able to use the city’s nextbike scheme for free following a joint venture between the operator and two of Cardiff’s universities.
Nextbike, Cardiff University and Cardiff Metropolitan University have jointly funded the scheme to enable NHS workers and those offering critical support during the COVID-19 pandemic to use the bikes for free.
It follows similar rollouts in Glasgow, Stirling and Hillingdon in London, where free memberships have been offered to key workers who are still having to travel to and from work during the pandemic.
Nextbike MD Krysia Solheim thanked the universities, as well as Pedal Power which continues to operate the system locally and who have become essential workers themselves. “Everyone I’ve spoken to has been incredibly understanding and supportive over what we are trying to achieve,” said Solheim.
“This is about uniting in the face of adversity and helping our frontline workers deliver a service with as much safety as possible on their commute to work. We are a small company and simply could not have done this without our partners’ support.”
She also called on the business community in the region to support the continuation of the funding so more key workers could use nextbike to travel safely. “If there are other businesses in Cardiff that would like to join us to extend this programme beyond one month, please reach out.”
The scheme will offer 500 free memberships to NHS staff and other essential workers, which means the first 30 minutes of every rental is free. The memberships will be valid for one month from redemption and will be first come first serve.
“Without our fantastic frontline NHS and other key workers, we simply could not have functioned as a city during these last few weeks,” said Cardiff University’s vice-chancellor, professor Colin Riordan.
“Supporting nextbike to offer free bike use to key workers like our doctors, nurses and other key healthcare staff in Cardiff is the very least we can do to help make their journeys easier and offer thanks to all of them for all their continued efforts on our behalf.”
A spokesperson for Cardiff Metropolitan University added: “In these unprecedented times it is only right that we do everything we can to support the national efforts to combat this disease. Supporting essential workers including NHS staff in this small way is, we hope, one less thing to worry about for those who need to travel to work to help keep us safe and well.”
The fleet remains operational for regular customers, who can still use the bikes to get their daily dose of exercise and essential trips.
For information on how to redeem the membership visit www.nextbike.co.uk/en/covid-19-information/.