Beryl Bikes Considers Exeter for Sustainable Mobility Following Co Cars and Co Bikes Shutdown

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Since the dissolution of Co Cars and Co Bikes last summer, Exeter has been on the lookout for a dependable fleet of electric bikes and cars available for hire. The absence of the once-popular hire company has led to speculation about potential successors. Now, Beryl Bikes, a growing company offering rentable electric bikes, has expressed interest in introducing its fleet to Exeter.

In the wake of Co Cars and Co Bikes’ collapse in July 2023, Exeter residents have been left without a convenient and environmentally friendly transportation option. Co Cars and Co Bikes attributed their downfall to the adverse effects of the pandemic, the increasing cost of living, surging fuel prices, and persistent vandalism against their bikes.

Amid the city’s quest for a new sustainable mobility provider, Beryl Bikes has emerged as a contender. However, contrary to speculations, the London-based sports goods company, Smidsy Ltd, operating the Beryl Bikes scheme, has officially confirmed that it has not taken over the service in Exeter. While the company successfully introduced 500 rentable electric bikes to Plymouth, Exeter remains without a concrete plan.

A spokesperson for Beryl Bikes clarified, “No, we are not taking over Co Bikes.” Nevertheless, they expressed keen interest in potential opportunities to fill the void left by Co Cars and Co Bikes. The spokesperson emphasized Beryl Bikes’ commitment to eliminating barriers to active travel, promoting sustainable transport habits, and contributing to reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions.

Renowned for its innovative approach to micro-mobility solutions, Beryl Bikes has established itself as a significant player in the field. The company operates its systems independently and has secured long-term contracts with councils such as Norfolk County Council and Watford Borough Council. Additionally, it collaborates with large transport authorities, such as Transport for London, providing platform services for publicly owned bike share systems.

Despite facing financial challenges, including a loss exceeding £4 million between April 2021 and March 2022, and breaching banking covenants twice, Beryl Bikes remains optimistic. The company highlighted its substantial investments, expansion to new locations, and the support of a major shareholder. The annual report and financial statement for 2022 revealed a loss, but by 2023, Beryl Bikes had added five new bike share schemes, including e-bike initiatives in Cornwall and Plymouth.

Beryl Bikes’ commitment to sustainability is emphasized by the operation of its £2 million factory in Poole, Dorset. This facility, the second-largest e-bike plant in the UK, produces 150 e-bikes monthly and has been operational for nearly a year. Despite its growth and success in various locations, Exeter is yet to see any confirmed plans for the introduction of Beryl Bikes’ services.

The spokesperson for Beryl Bikes explained, “Our aim is to eliminate the barriers to active travel to encourage as many people as possible to adopt more sustainable transport habits.” They added, “Exeter has shown a clear appetite for shared sustainable transport, and we are eager to be part of the next chapter.”

The company’s interest in Exeter aligns with the city’s demonstrated enthusiasm for shared sustainable transport options. As Beryl Bikes actively engages with Devon and Exeter to understand the micro-mobility landscape, residents are optimistic about the emergence of a reliable and eco-friendly transportation solution.

The absence of Co Cars and Co Bikes has underscored the urgency for a seamless transition to a new provider. Beryl Bikes, with its track record of success in other locations, may prove to be the answer Exeter needs to revive its eco-friendly mobility options and contribute to a more sustainable future for the city.

Dawn Jackson
Dawn Jackson
Journalist Dawn is an experienced business journalist specializing in regional coverage across the United Kingdom. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for uncovering stories that impact local communities, Dawn brings a unique perspective to her work. Through her insightful reporting, she keeps readers informed about the latest developments in various regions, shedding light on the economic landscape and entrepreneurial endeavours. Dawn's dedication to delivering accurate and engaging business news makes her a valuable asset to the News Write Ups team.

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