Docking stations for the UK’s largest electric bike sharing scheme are set to be installed at key locations across Derby ahead of the project’s official launch.
Derby City Council unveiled plans for the initiative last year after securing funding from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, with funding also from the University of Derby. The day-to-day running of the venture will be handled by Hourbike, the longest established bikeshare operator in the UK.
Thirty docking stations for 200 electric bikes, provided by Social Bicycles, will start to be installed across the city during April and the scheme is expected to be up and running as soon as possible afterwards.
The planned docking station locations include 12 University of Derby sites, Pride Park/Derby Arena, numerous sites around Rolls-Royce/Infinity Park, Royal Derby Hospital, the Council House, Market Place, Victoria Street, Sadler Gate, the Bus Station, the Railway Station, Chester Green, Castle Ward, Markeaton Park, Raynesway, the Spot and the Rail Technology Centre. There will be some flexibility in docking e-bikes outside of these stations thanks to the bikes’ GPS technology, enabling riders to make use of existing bike racks. The scheme has been designed to support key journeys for commuters and students, providing them with a sustainable, low-cost transport alternative.
Customers will be able to check bike availability and sign up instantly through the Social Bicycles App or the Derby electric bike share scheme website. There will be several tariff choices, for regular riders or for occasional use.
Councillor Asaf Afzal, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Public Protection said:
“Cycle hire schemes bring many benefits to a city, and can serve a variety of markets including residents, students, workers and visitors. It will provide a viable transport alternative that will not only help to mitigate the impacts of poor air quality and growing levels of congestion in our city, but also improve people’s health and fitness levels.”
Tim Caswell, owner and managing director of Hourbike, said he was delighted that work was set to start on the infrastructure of the scheme. He said:
“We are thrilled to be moving forward with the Derby electric bike share scheme which will bring many benefits to the city and the people who live, work and study here. Bike share schemes support health and well-being, relieve pressure on public transport and help to cut traffic congestion and air pollution.
“We hope that the people of Derby fully embrace the scheme and that it is a welcome service for locals and the 13,000 university students who study here.”
Professor Kathryn Mitchell, Vice-Chancellor of the University, added:
“I am delighted that the University is working in partnership with Derby City Council to launch the Derby electric bike share scheme.
“The new scheme is great news for the city and a fantastic opportunity for our students and staff to leave their car keys at home and get out and about on a bike to cycle across campus sites in the city. As well as reaping the health and well-being benefits of exercising in the fresh air, it will also lead to cost-savings and better air quality for the city too.”
Bikeshare schemes are expanding all across the UK. The provision of electric bikes as part of these is still very new. Exeter was the first all ebike scheme to be introduced in 2017.