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Edinburgh’s e-bike scheme goes live

Published: 2 Mar 2020

A new fleet of rentable e-bikes has been launched in Edinburgh today (Monday 2 March) which will see the Scottish capital create the UK’s largest fleet of docked electrically powered bicycles.

The new fleet of 168 e-bikes was officially launched by Transport for Edinburgh and the scheme’s operator, Serco. Edinburgh’s e-bikes will be phased into the city’s existing cycle hire scheme – Just Eat Cycles.

The e-bikes provide a maximum supported speed of 15 mph. They can now be hired and dropped off at over 95 existing points in the scheme’s network which are already home to 500 pedal bikes.

Each full charge provides a range of 50 miles and provides a constant electric assist while users pedal. Serco monitors bike power levels using real-time technology and replaces batteries when they are running low.

Made in Britain by Pashley, Edinburgh’s e-bikes are similar to the existing pedal models in the city but have a slightly different frame and colour scheme.

They can be unlocked for £1.50 using the existing Just Eat Cycles app, plus 10p per minute. Users with an annual or 24 hour subscription can unlock e-bikes for no charge other than the 10p per minute tariff. 

Alex Macdonald, General Manager of Just Eat Cycles, said: “We’re proud to launch our fleet of 168 e-bikes and introduce the new service to this brilliant city. Those who live, work, study and visit Edinburgh now have access to a fleet of e-bikes which will grow to become the UK’s largest docked e-bike fleet. We look forward to seeing people enjoying the e-bikes, and choosing them as a sustainable and affordable alternative mode of public transport.”

Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “I’m delighted to be launching the brand new e-bikes for Edinburgh, which I know will open up the bike hire scheme to so many more people. We’re working hard to make cycling a safer, more attractive and accessible transport option for all those who live in and visit the city, and this addition will make a real difference.”

George Lowder, Chief Executive of Transport for Edinburgh, said “The e-bikes are great fun and make cycling around the city comparatively easy. The really innovative thing is the way in which they are completely integrated into the existing scheme.”

Ellie Grebenik, Senior Programme Manager at Energy Saving Trust added: “E-bikes are growing in popularity across Scotland and provide a fantastic low carbon transport option which promotes sustainable and active travel. The addition of e-bikes to the public hire scheme in Edinburgh increases their accessibility for local residents and visitors alike, which can only be viewed as progress. The eBike Grant Fund, delivered by Energy Saving Trust and funded by Transport Scotland, awarded Transport for Edinburgh £238,144 towards supporting 63 e-bikes and associated charging infrastructure which will be made available through the Just Eat Cycles hire scheme.”

Per minute charges will begin at the start of each minute an e-bike is in use.

As part of an introductory offer, there will be no additional per minute charge for the first hour of e-bike hire. The offer will last for two weeks, starting on 2 March and ending on 16 March, meaning there will be no cost difference between the pedal and e-bikes for a fortnight.

The average trip length on the scheme’s existing pedal bikes is 16 minutes. Serco anticipates that e-bike journeys will be far shorter given the greater distances which can be covered in the same time.

Following the addition of e-bikes to the scheme, users with a 24hr pass or annual pass will continue to be able to make multiple trips across the city a day and will be able to choose whether to use a pedal bike or pay extra for an e-bike, depending on each individual journey.

The scheme, run by Serco on behalf of Transport for Edinburgh, launched in September 2018. There are currently over 90 hire points located in the city, and around 500 pedal bikes across the fleet using technology by Urban Sharing, the operators of cycle hire schemes in Oslo, Trondheim and Bergen.