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Connect Plymouth launches electric car and bike hire

We’re getting connected! Connect Plymouth is now up and running offering new, more sustainable ways to get around the city.

Today local people got the chance to try out electric bikes and learn about how easy it will soon become to get from A to B using the greener forms of transport.

Today’s event at the Piazza in the city centre attracted plenty of people wanting to find out more about how the schemes work in practice, whether the e-bikes were ready for hire from today and to hear more about car clubs and e-chargers.

Docking stations have been popping up all over the city and when fully operational, Beryl Bikes will have a 500-strong fleet of electric bikes for hire from over 90 sites across the city. 

There will be an additional 300 parking bays across the city with electric vehicle charge points provided by Wenea. The Council has awarded a contract to Co Cars to run a fleet of electric car club vehicles within Plymouth.

Initially there will be 28 docking stations – or Beryl bays – with 125 bikes ready to ride and more due to come online throughout the rest of the year.

Beryl Scheme Lead for Plymouth, Kate Palmer, said: “We’re extremely delighted to be launching our scheme in Plymouth, a city with a clear and exciting vision to promote sustainable travel.

Women next to Beryl bikes ready to ride

“Our e-bikes are a really fun and versatile way to travel and their extra power can really open up areas, enabling riders to tackle hills and undertake longer journeys.

“They’re also great for commuting, allowing people to arrive at work clean and ready to go, and for carrying heavier loads such as shopping.

“By swapping the car for an e-bike journey you’re not only boosting your own health and fitness, you’re also helping to reduce congestion and harmful carbon emissions, so why not give it a try.”

Nic Eversett, Managing Director of Co Cars, said: “We’re passionate about creating less congested and polluted environments by offering alternatives to the private car. That’s why we’re delighted to partner with Plymouth City Council on this exciting project.

“Because our cars are shared, they are used far more efficiently – around 35 per cent of the time compared to just four per cent for private cars. Our members can also save thousands every year as they only pay for the time they drive plus mileage.

“Cars are bookable 24/7 by app from as little as half an hour to a few days. As well as Plymouth, they are also available from locations across the South West.”

Co car representative at Connect Plymouth event

Connect Plymouth is the new name for the network of facilities – which were formerly called mobility hubs. It is part of the Department of Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund, which aims to change people’s travel habits by making it as easy as possible for people to choose low carbon options to get about. 

José Contreras, Head of Wenea UK, added: “Wenea is delighted to be part of Connect Plymouth, an initiative that vastly improves access to sustainable transport modes around the city.

“By delivering 150 chargers to Plymouth, supported by our user-friendly app, we are removing a critical barrier holding residents back from using electric vehicles. This will cut carbon emissions, improve air quality and create a more enjoyable transportation experience in Plymouth."

In March 2020 the Council received £51.2m capital funding from the Transforming Cities Fund. This builds upon the £7.6m previously awarded in 2019.

Find out more on the Connect Plymouth website.