Following up enquiries and complaints from residents, the Lib Dem opposition group asked the following questions in Full Council and we include the responses from the City Executive Board member responsible.
Can the Board Member advise how many dockless bikes are now standing on the streets of Oxford, and whether any more are to be licensed?
There is no upper limit in the Oxford Code of Conduct. Is one being introduced?
Local authorities have no powers to license schemes, or to set enforceable upper limitsthrough such schemes. However all the operators in Oxford have adhered to the voluntary Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is under constant review, including whether an upper limit should be introduced. As the schemes expand their geographic coverage, more bikes will be required, but will be spread over a much larger area. Each time one of the three firms currently operating in Oxford has wanted to increase the number of bikes in their scheme they have consulted with the City Council as part of the ongoing dialogue between the companies, the City Council and the County Council.
Brilliantly coloured dockless bikes are becoming an eyesore on the streets of Oxford. What progress is being made in finding cycling stations where they can be stored?
The point of dockless bikes is that that they do not have docking stations. The companies use incentives within their apps to encourage their customers to leave bikes parked appropriately. Several private landowners have agreements with the operators for bikes to be placed on their land.
Dockless bikes are accessed by an app which requires credit card details. They are equipped with satnavs which permanently record bike trips. How is this information used? How is it monetised? Are people aware of how their information can be used e.g. passed on to marketing companies?
Data collected by private companies is subject to appropriate laws. The City Council is not privy to the contractual relationship between the companies running these schemes and their customers, in the same way that it is not privy to the contractual relationship between Oxford’s bus operators and their customers.