Dockless hire bikes which can be used with the tap of a phone will soon become available in Dundee.
The council’s city development committee approved a tender to allow companies Ride On and Urbo to operate as part of the mobility innovation living laboratory (MILL) programme.
The two firms will provide hire bikes which can be used by anyone signed up with the company’s app, which is able to “unlock” the hire bike, as well as track where it has been taken, meaning users to “pick up and go” from a pre-designated area determined by the council.
Using the app, customers will scan a QR code located on the bike’s “smart lock”, which opens and allows for use.
When the user has finished riding the bike, they can simply push down the “smart lock” and leave the bike unattended.
Riders are charged in 30 minute increments, which in other cities currently cost 50p per half hour. It costs £1 to become a member when the app has been downloaded.
Urbo, which is based in Ireland, has already established itself in Dublin, London and Ipswich and said it has worked “extensively” with local authorities across Europe.
Concerns were raised about whether the scheme could be abused by vandals.
SNP councillor Ken Lynn said: “This is a fantastic idea, but my only concern is whether these bikes might end up in the bottom of the river, or never returned.”
Responding to the concerns, the council’s head of roads and transportation, Neil Gellatly, said: “We have tried to get one of these schemes for a number of years.
“It is true in the past bikes (on similar, different schemes) have been taken afar – one was documented being taken from Paris to Nigeria.
“You have to be a member (to use these bikes) and they can be tracked on where they have been and where they have been left.
“The council won’t own the bikes.”
According to the council, the MILL will “aim to establish Dundee as a real-life test and experimentation environment for smart mobility solutions, encompassing new technologies, business models and regulatory frameworks.”