NextBike’s NextMoves


NextBike goes before Auckland City Councillors tomorrow to plead its case to continue.

I wish them all the best.

You may recall that in April, despite moves by both the Auckland City Council and NZTA to actively promote cycling in Auckland, the council got all huffy with NextBike for the state of bikes left around the city after use.

This can be solved with more cycle racks and less red tape.

NextBike has a fleet of 170 bikes.

After 3 operating seasons, Nextbike needs at least 250 bikes and associated advertising and bike rental income to become a self funding public bike network.

It’s asking for 250 bike racks to be made available for Nextbike to operate from in the central City suburbs (CBD,Parnell, Newmarket, Mt Eden, Kingsland, Ponsonby) ready for operation in October and warns:

“Without permission to expand, and without additional official locations to operate from, Nextbike will  operate at a loss for 2010 – 2011. This a position that the shareholders (who have invested $570k over 4 years) can no longer tolerate. All the knowledge and skills are in place for Nextbike to run a financially sustainable public private partnership.
“This will require a supportive operating environment from Auckland City Council and a relatively small capital investment, in comparison to the investment to date from Nextbike, to meet the opportunities.

“Without this support Nextbike will be forced to close down its operation.”

Interesting points:

  • On average, each bike is used for the equivalent of 43 minutes per day, almost exactly 1/3rd of the rate that similar schemes in Europe are used at.
  • The NZTA has indicated that it recognises that Nextbikes are public transport and deserve to attract similar levels of co – funding.
  • Nextbike has gained permission to operate in both Wellington and Christchurch. Both cities have agreed to place new racks for Nextbike to operate from. The only documentation and commercial fees proposed are a street trading license, and a peppercorn rent, a lot easier than Auckland!
  • Less than 0.3% of rentals are stolen and not recovered.

NextBike’s two preferred options to the council move forward are:

  • NextBike continues to use the 101 racks in the current operating agreements, and Council installs 149 new rack for the remaining 149 bikes. The bikes have advertising on them and this is used to fund the public transport component of the rides. The use of public space is paid for in kind by Nextbike providing to the city: free bike rentals, and the facility to ride from A to B at no extra charge.
  • Or Nextbike continues to use the 101 racks in the current operating agreement, and Council installs 149 new racks for the remaining 149 bikes. The bikes have advertising on them, with Council and NZTA co-funding the public transport component. 100% of profit after interest, depreciation and tax is shared between the City Council and Nextbike in proportion to the capital invested.

It may be August before NextBike hears what the council decides, which doesn’t leave it much time to be ready for October.

Let’s hope the councillors give NextBike a sympathetic ear and a path to survival.

It deserves to succeed.




  1. Carl says:

    This is kinda sad really, I watched a video on the french scheme, they did a massive deal with adversting company. which worked both ways, the bikes got promoted and on the other hand, where ever they were kept, the advertising company had to build a racking system which in turn lead to them building adverstiing around it.

    they also provided the costings of fixing the bikes… it was a muilt million $$ deal. pity someone here doesn’t see the better side of it… this would be awesome if it worked correctly, but it needs to have small stations everywhere and full time people doing collections and repairs, and they need to be on a decent wage to keep them occupied…

    this could be a really rewarding job for people coming off the dole or something like that…. or even people coming out of back out of Jail/ Prison, learn a trade and in turn put something back into the city / town…

    hope it keeps going…

  2. max says:

    It works fine as it is! They just need a few more racks and the permission to be out and about!

  3. Sam F says:

    Would be cool with the council putting in more racks for Nextbike and sharing some of the profit in return - although it would be nice if the council stipulated that the spaces for Nextbikes were matched with more spaces for people to lock up their own bicycles… it seems at the moment like Nextbikes have colonized most public racks available…


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