YOU might not like to hear it, but the demise of dockless bikes in Oxford would seem to be a vindication of old-fashioned capitalist models.

The withdrawal of not one but three different companies from the city also follows hot on the heels of the withdrawal of another of these new-style flexible transport services – Oxford's PickMeUp bus, sold as ‘Uber for buses’.

The rise and rise of Uber, the casual taxi service which you book using an app on your phone, spawned a festival of similar companies jumping on the app-controlled wagon.

The argument was that people today, especially young people, wanted a more flexible world where they could wander through Oxford, spot a bike, jump on it and ride to their destination then hoik it into the nearest river or hedge.

The whole idea was that we were entering a new era where huge numbers of people didn’t want to live by old-fashioned time tables, or lower themselves to the grubby level of actually buying material possessions like bicycles.

However it turns out (surprise, surprise) that the vast majority of people actually like timetables, reliability, and owning their own mode of transport.

Even the attraction of being able to hurl someone else’s bicycle into the Thames for the cost of downloading an app wasn’t enough to persuade most cyclists to go dockless.

So what do we learn from this?

Well, one thing we don't learn is that trying bold new ideas doesn't work: we do need innovation, new ideas and new companies: if nothing else these failures have answered a very legitimate question about how people like their public transport services to work.

More than that, one of these disposable bike companies is already saying it may come back to Oxford.

However it does remind us that sometimes the old ways work; sometimes, when we've been doing something the same way for centuries, there is a reason for it.