By Richard Peace
Back in September 2015 the UK’s Department for Transport announced the results of competitive bidding for a share of £700,000 that would fund electric bike hire schemes across the country.
The application process was administered by UK NGO Carplus which also now has a sister organisation Bikeplus, the new representative body for the sixteen towns and cities chosen to trial electric bike hire.
ElectricBikeReport will look at what each of the sixteen schemes is doing in turn as they begin to roll out across the country, starting with the University of Brighton’s scheme to link two of its campuses. After being chosen by organisation Carplus, the university was awarded £36,000 from the Department for Transport for the project.
Like many UK universities, Brighton’s staff and students are spread over several sites and the first phase of the university electric bike hire scheme has just been launched. The aim of the scheme is to encourage staff to travel to the Eastbourne campus by train and use the e-bikes to link the station to the Eastbourne campus which is located 2 miles away and up a hill.
Ten Bosch-powered Raleigh Captus electric bikes are now available for day loan, allowing staff and students to arrive at Eastbourne rail station and make the 2 mile uphill trip to the campus with ease.
The University worked with local train operating company Southern Rail to provide secure storage for the bikes at Eastbourne station.
The scheme is currently only available for staff however, there are plans for an additional service to offer long term loans of ebikes for 1, 3, or 6 month periods to both staff and students after Easter.
All users have to be trained to use the e-bikes prior to participating in the scheme. Training is provided by East Sussex County Council bike trainers.
Dr Anne Mandy, Associate Professor at the University’s Centre for Health Research, told ElectricBikeReport ‘A conservative estimate of 10% would suggest that there are potentially 170 staff and student users that may be interested in using the scheme, which does not include staff visiting from the Brighton campuses’ adding ‘The scheme delivers value for money, as it will initially involve a mix of refurbished e-bikes and new bikes. The older e-bikes will be phased out after a year and replaced by new bikes.
The project will be evaluated and analysed with view to replicating it at the Brighton campuses/train station of the University. Users will be charged as small fee which will generate income to support the long term sustainability of the scheme.’
Dr Mandy also pointed out the underlying reasons for implementing the scheme, ‘The scheme addresses the overuse of cars by University staff and students, which is an issue that has been raised by the local residents.
Moreover, the University transport policy encourages cycling and a range of facilities are available for use on each site: cycle parking, shower facilities, bike pumps/repair kits. The scheme aims to maximise the use of the existing infrastructure in place to support the electric bike initiative.’
Stay tuned for more electric bike share program news!
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