A 400-strong fleet of hireable electric bikes will be ready and available on the streets of Plymouth next year.
The bikes, which will be based all across the city and will be bookable online, are being introduced as part of the Council’s mobility hubs project.
Beryl has been appointed to provide the bikes, having already delivered micromobility schemes in Norwich, Hereford, Watford, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, the Isle of Wight, Hackney and Greater Manchester.
Beryl CEO, Phil Ellis, said: “We’re delighted to have been chosen to deliver this scheme and, as the UK’s leading micromobility provider, I’m confident our experience and expertise can inspire more people to take up sustainable transport while delivering new skills and jobs to Plymouth.
“E-bikes are a fun, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way to get around a city, helping to reduce harmful emissions while improving air quality and public health.
“They can play a key role in a sustainable urban transport network, helping to connect modes of transport and reduce traffic congestion by encouraging people to switch from their cars for shorter journeys.
'We’re looking forward to delivering this scheme in partnership with Plymouth City Council and ensuring that we provide the best possible experience for our users.”
The scheme is part of a programme of investment through the Department of Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) that aims to change people’s travel habits by making it as easy as possible for people to choose low carbon options to get about.
Designed to reduce reliance on private car use in Plymouth as well as Plymouth’s travel to work area, key components will include electric vehicle (EV) charging points, electric bikes, car club vehicles and journey planning.
Officers are currently looking at possible locations for around 50 hubs, with the aim of at least one in every ward.
The scheme will also see 300 parking bays across the city being installed with electric vehicle charge points provided by Gamma Energy Limited.
Over 100 of these will have rapid chargers capable of providing a typical electric vehicle with an additional 100 mile range in approximately 30 minutes.
Alberto Cantero, CEO of Wenea, Gamm’s sister company, added: “Wenea has a vision to enable electric mobility for everyone and accelerate the transition towards zero emission transport.
“We are honoured to work with Plymouth City Council in their flagship project to deploy fast and rapid electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the city. Over the next two years, 300 charging points will be rolled out across more than 45 different locations in what constitutes one of the most ambitious urban electric charging projects in the UK.”
Councillor Jonathan Drean, Cabinet member for Transport, said: "I am so excited that our mobility hubs are a step closer to reality.
"We have to make sustainable transport more attractive and by installing the appropriate infrastructure, we're breaking down another barrier that might stop someone from switching to a greener alternative. We hope that having bikes for hire with a bit of added power to the pedal will entice more people to give it a go.”
A raft of projects are currently in train, thanks to significant capital funding through the Transforming Cities Fund.
New cycle routes are on the cards for key transport corridors, with a focus on routes used by commuters to travel to work such as the Dockyard to the City Centre and Crownhill Road.
The schemes improve access to work, restart the city's growth agenda, deliver homes, safeguard and create new jobs. It is also designed to improve air quality and reduce the city’s overall carbon emissions as a direct response to the city's climate emergency declaration.
About Transforming Cities Fund
In March 2020 the Council received £51.2m in capital funding from the Transforming Cities Fund. This builds upon the £7.6m awarded in 2019 as part of Tranche 1, bringing in a total of £58.8m in additional external funding to Plymouth's city region. The programme focuses on three key themes:
- providing quality infrastructure that delivers a viable alternative to the private car and clear information to keep the traveller informed
- encouraging new and innovative technology to provide cleaner transport, better access to active travel options and to manage transport demand
- effective behaviour change: integrating transport measures and managing travel demand by applying policies to discourage commuting by single occupancy car.