Cycling in Liverpool is set for an e-revolution after a new bike hire scheme got the green light.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet has approved a scheme to replace its own Citybikes, and appoint private operator Voi to provide e-bikes.
The move is part of a decision by the Department of Transport to allow Voi to expand its e-scooter trial in the city to May 2024.
Following Cabinet approval, it is expected the new Voi e-bikes will be launched in mid-August, starting with 50 and eventually rising to 500 in operation.
The council will also begin the task of removing all Citybikes, which were originally launched in 2014, and will look to donate them to local charities and community groups.
Voi’s e-bikes are dockless, similar to the e-scooters, so do not require docking stations as seen with the Citybike scheme.
By ending that operation, the council will save an estimated £300,000 a year in operational and maintenance costs.
Voi will be launching a digital pass and subscription service in the coming weeks, with major discounts to be introduced for students, military personnel and veterans, teaching staff, NHS workers and people receiving benefits.
Councillor Dan Barrington, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said:
“The Citybike scheme proved very popular and it has helped thousands of people get active and cycle across the city. However, the impact of Central Government funding cuts, Covid and subsequent drop in usage as well the rising maintenance cost to the cycles and stations has meant it was becoming difficult for the scheme to continue.
“I’m very pleased officers have worked with Voi to introduce a replacement scheme which will ensure there will be a seamless transition. I welcome the discount measures too as we need to offset any financial barrier to those who will benefit most from these e-bikes.
“As to the Citybikes I’m delighted they will remain in the city with those still in good working order being handed over to charities and community groups, and those in disrepair to be used as parts, ensuring the scheme has a positive legacy on our environment.”
Sam Pooke, Senior Policy Manager at Voi UK said:
“We are delighted to continue to work with Liverpool City Council to provide our e-bikes in addition to the existing Voi e-scooter scheme. To date, over 2.6 million rides have been taken on Voi scooters, replacing an estimated 1.1 million short car trips, with thousands of people relying on them daily to commute, shop or enjoy the city.
“Voi will use its knowledge and expertise in running successful e-scooter and e-bikes schemes to ensure residents and visitors can benefit from these two green and complementary modes of transport, reducing the need to use private cars across the city.”
Voi’s e-bike scheme aligns with the Council’s Cycling Strategy and Active Travel campaign by continuing to provide a sustainable alternative to vehicle travel within the city.
The area for the e-bike operation will be the same as the e-Scooters which covers 80% of Liverpool and uses the same geofencing/parking models.