Helen PiddWed 22 Aug 2018 13.43 BST
Chinese company’s bikes have been found in waterways, up lampposts, or hidden in sheds
Manchester could be the first world city abandoned by bike-sharing behemoth Mobike on the grounds of persistent vandalism and theft.
The Chinese firm has issued a final warning to Mancunians following a year which has seen substantial numbers of the company’s orange and silver bikes damaged, stolen or thrown in the Manchester Ship Canal.
Every month this summer 10% of Mobike’s Manchester fleet went missing or was vandalised, according to Steve Milton, Mobike’s global communications and marketing leader.
Many of the estimated 2,000 bikes ended up at the bottom of the canal at Salford Quays and in various other waterways. Others were strung up lampposts, abandoned in the Arndale shopping centre, locked in secure car parks and hidden in sheds. A startling number had their locks hacked off – and with them, their inbuilt GPS trackers – and were resprayed gold, silver and a rainbow of other colours.
“This is not an idle threat. It’s not PR … The losses are not sustainable. We are going to have to draw a line under this at some point,” said Milton. “Everyone is unhappy with the current situation. Users are unhappy because they can’t find bikes when they want them, the police are unhappy because they’re having to waste time dealing with petty vandalism and we are unhappy because we aren’t delivering the service we want.”