OXONBIKES, the ‘original’ Oxford bike share scheme, has shut down with immediate affect, the company announced yesterday.

The bikes, originally piloted in a £150,000 scheme around Headington in 2013, have since been eclipsed in number by the likes of Ofo, Ponybike and Mobike - something owner Hourbike has blamed its decline on.

Users received an email yesterday which read: “Thank you for being a customer of Oxonbike. As a cyclist I am sure you will have noticed the growth this year in dockless bikes in Oxford across the City.

“We are pleased to see the growth in shared bikes but unfortunately this has had an impact on usage levels of Oxonbike.

“Together with other factors and, in consultation with our partners, we have come to the difficult decision to close the Oxonbike service with immediate effect.

“We do apologise if you have been a regular user and this inconveniences you, and we thank you for your support.”

Oxford Mail:

John Sanders, the Labour’s county council spokesperson on transport, said: “It’s a shame. I was very pleased that there was competition between the bikes companies here in Oxford, and this now limits it to three.”

Mr Sanders added that he was unsure what impact Oxonbike’s closure would have on the scourge of bikes being left in all manner of places around the city.

Oxford Mail:

A hire bike left in the middle of the road. Picture: Arif Kirmizitas

He continued: “I think we have problems with hire bikes being left around and I don’t know if their closure will encourage the companies to be more vigilant or not.

“But I am hoping that the companies will find a self-enforcing system to make sure bikes are left in a reasonable place.”

It is not known what will happen to users’ existing credit, the docks used for the bikes, or the bikes themselves, with the company not immediately able to comment further when contacted yesterday.

Daily Information Oxford tweeted: “While the increase in cycling encouraged by the flood of dockless bikes into the city is to be cautiously welcomed, seeing an established and well-maintained scheme stop is a great shame.”

Nathan Goodwin, assistant manager at Cowley Road’s Cycle King store, suggested environmental issues were not the only problem with the rise of dockless bikes.

He said: “It hasn’t affected us too much but little independent stores have felt it.”