Last Updated on Thursday, 29 December, 2022 at 5:39 pm by Andre Camilleri
Nextbike Malta has announced that it will be terminating its operations in the country on Saturday 31 December.
Nextbike Malta is a licensed operator for a new innovative way to get around the island by cycling and had advertised itself as an ideal climate-friendly solution to close gaps in network and timetables of buses thanks to a public bike sharing system.
The business was the first to have introduced such a transport model in Malta.
In a post on Facebook however, the company said that it was facing fierce competition with the emergence of alternative micro-mobility systems, ride hailing services, and free public transportation, “all of which are crucial elements of multi-model transportation”.
It also said that the lack of suitable urban bicycle infrastructure together with the general lack of road safety made it also unappealing for existing and future riders to use offered services.
Additionally apart from the hit the company suffered on its income during the two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, its bikes were also being stolen and vandalised. However it said that “it is clear that there is a market for cycling in Malta”, as over 600 people have received a certificate from Nextbike showing that they have participated in its offered free learn-to-cycle program.
“Nextbike Malta is still of the opinion that a national bike-sharing program is necessary. But these systems’ unit economics won’t function unless the government actively encourages, promotes, and provides incentives for people to use bicycles as a substitute form of transportation.”
It added that although it will be closing its doors officially next Saturday, it will continue to offer its customer service on +356 2099 6666 until the end of next January.
A total of two companies offering transport sharing alternatives will be recorded to have left the country in 2022.
Apart from Nextbike, the popular car ride sharing application GoTo had also abruptly announced that it was going to close its doors by the end of last September.
The service which allowed for people to rent out the company’s electric cars and mopeds had come to Malta in 2018 and had in the meantime served more than 1,000,000 shared rides.
Although no reason was given as to the sudden decision, the news came just a few days after a road fatal road accident.
On September 24, 21-year old Ben LaFerla died in a car accident, after the Renault Zoe car which belonged to the ride sharing application and which was being driven by a 17-year-old girl from St Paul’s Bay crashed into a wall.
The car was carrying four persons at the time: the 17-year-old driver, LaFerla, a 19-year-old Chilean woman and a 20-year-old Swiss man.