Edinburgh’s rentable e-bikes to be available from 2 March and cost 10p per minute

Published: 21 Feb 2020

Edinburgh Cycle Hire’s rentable e-bikes will be available to ride from 2 March, Transport for Edinburgh (TfE) and the scheme’s operator, Serco, have confirmed.

The new electrically assisted e-bikes have a maximum supported speed of 15 mph and provide a constant electric assist while users pedal, making Edinburgh’s hills easier to tackle.

168 e-bikes will be phased into the current scheme and use the same Just Eat Cycles app. They will be available to hire and drop off at the existing 90 hire points which are already home to over 500 pedal bikes.

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

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

The rentable e-bikes will be unlockable for £1.50 - the same price as a single journey on the existing pedal bikes - but will come with an additional per minute charge of 10p. Users with an Annual, Uni or 24 hour subscription can unlock e-bikes for no charge other than the 10p per minute tariff.  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 after 16 March meaning there will be no cost difference between the pedal and e-bikes for a fortnight.

Alex Macdonald, General Manager of Just Eat Cycles, said: “We’re proud to announce that we will launch our e-bikes on the 2nd of March - this is an exciting step. The thousands of people who live, work, study and visit this brilliant city can look forward to an easy to use, sustainable and affordable alternative mode of public transport. I am looking forward to seeing them being enjoyed around the city, alongside our fantastic pedal bikes.’’

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.”

Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “We’ve already seen how popular and handy the bike hire scheme has been amongst residents and visitors, and this addition will be game-changing for the many more people who might consider exploring our city on two wheels. We’re making great strides toward transforming Edinburgh to make it safer and more welcoming for travel by bike and these new e-bikes will make traversing the city’s unique landscape even easier.”

The announcement of the launch comes following the conclusion of a three month long testing and user acceptance period for the new e-bikes. The trials saw a series of partners including TfE and the University of Edinburgh try out the electrically assisted bikes and provide feedback and journey data to operators, Serco.

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 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.