Plans to start electric bike rental scheme in York – after people travel 15K miles on e-scooters in six weeks

Riders try the scooters on Piccadilly in York. Photograph: Richard McDougall
11 Jan 2021 @ 5.11 am
| Transport

The e-scooter rental scheme in York has proved very popular – and soon electric bikes could join them.

People have been able to rent the Tier e-scooters since 12 October. A new report outlines the success of the pilot scheme.

In the first six weeks of the trial:

  • 10 parking locations were available for scooters
  • with 116 e-scooters available for hire
  • 3,822 trips were taken, with a total of
  • 25,012 km (15,534 miles) travelled on e-scooters.

Almost all the scooters (99%) were then parked in the designated bays. And no injuries or collisions were reported involving scooter riders.

The plan is to expand the scooter scheme to up to 700 vehicles. The e-scooters are now available at the University of York, York Hospital, York St John’s University, and city centre locations.

If councillors agree, they will be expanded to:

  • Clifton and Rawcliffe in January
  • South Bank and Heworth in February
  • the rest of the city from March.

Bike plan

An e-bike rental scheme would follow the same model as for e-scooters, with
riders unlocking and paying for usage via a mobile phone app.

“The addition of e-bikes offers positive benefits for the city and individuals
riding them.

“As well as providing an active travel option, the pedal-assist can help aid faster or longer-distance travel, with reduced physical stress to power the bike compared with a traditional pedal cycle.

“This can make them more attractive as less exertion is required to reach a destination, whilst also providing the benefits of active travel.”

The maximum speed-assist of the e-bikes would be 15.5mph, with the power not exceeding 250 watts.

Geo-fencing technology would be used to ensure a user cannot end their
trip outside of designated parking locations and will continue the hire cost
if left outside of these locations.

However, a council report points out that: “Currently geo-fencing technology can be used to limit the service area and speed of e-scooters by cutting the motor and reducing the speed to 0mph.

“However the technology is unable to have the same limitations on speed and service area of e-bikes as the rider can still move the bike by pedalling.

“The pedal-assist on the e-bikes will stop if the e-bike leaves the service area, though a rider will still be able to move by pedalling the bike.”

Pricing for e-bikes would be at the same cost as e-scooters, with £1 to unlock and £0.15 per minute to ride.

Councillors will discuss the idea at a meeting on 18 January.

Off to a great start

Fred Jones, Tier’s UK & Ireland general manager, said: “York’s trial is off to a great start, and despite the lockdowns, we’ve seen strong uptake from the public, while a number of key workers have also been making the most of our free rides offer.

“In just over three months, Tier riders have travelled more than 50,000 km across the city on our e-scooters.

“We have successfully launched a number of initiatives in York, including the first ever e-scooter theory test in partnership with the AA’s DriveTech and a recycling scheme, which offers private e-scooter owners the chance to trade in their vehicles to be recycled or repurposed, in exchange for ride credit.

“In the coming months, we’ll be expanding operations to cover several new areas including South Bank, Clifton and Fulford. Hopefully, once we’re out of lockdown, this will lead to many more residents opting to use Tier e-scooters as a convenient and climate-friendly way of getting around the city.”