Step 1: Consider who is going to run it

There is a lot to do when running a bike scheme, so taking time to consider who will do what as a good first step. Think about what existing capacity you have as a group or individual. You may have the means to start this project already or you may need to set up a group, association or charity to run the scheme.

For example will it be operated by the community and therefore with specifications set by the community based on local needs in the village?

Costs related to community run organisations:

  • As there are costs related to setting up an entity, could the scheme be part of an existing local charity, association, or organisation etc. – as an off-shoot project for example?
  • The Resource Centre website can help you think through the different options if you are setting up a new body to run the scheme (and related costs such as registration).
  • If a scheme can be part of another enterprise, then capacity and responsibilities can be shared. However, if you are setting up a new group to run a scheme, you should consider all related costs.

Costs related to the people (volunteer or project coordinator):

Some schemes are volunteer run, some have part/full time staff or sessional workers, and some schemes contract out specific portions of the project. These different approaches will have varying implications on the cost of running your scheme.

There are payroll and accounting costs for employing staff. While there are benefits to having employed staff, the costs may be a burden depending on the type and size of scheme. Factor these into your business plans. Alternatively, the project could be managed and supported by:

  • Using volunteer support e.g., Dunblane Development Trust’s first year of running a bike share scheme (see case studies)
  • Contracting out some of the work such as feasibility studies or maintenance 
  • Allowing users of the scheme to take on more responsibility
  • Getting community champions to take on promotional roles to boost ridership
  • Sharing roles with existing projects to reduce the need for paid full-time staff - if you are part of a larger organisation for example

Explore who could provide support/resources at a reduced cost:

  • For example, a local bike shop could provide a discounted maintenance contract for your bike fleet or train your own community group to be able to do regular maintenance checks
  • Perhaps an intern or a student help with promotion

Read our task list to identify what tasks your volunteers or employees will need to do when running a scheme.

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