BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 26 October '16

Exeter launches UK’s first on-street city electric bike hire scheme

Exeter has become the birthplace of an ambitious electric bike hire scheme that will be steadily replicated in cities nationwide to create a revolution in urban travel.

Spearheading the project, Exeter’s Co-bikes says it will ‘make getting around Exeter easy, enjoyable and affordable’ by linking up other available forms of travel.

How it works

Co-bikes is the first city-wide network of electric bikes for self-service hire by the public from on-street docking stations. Riders can hire, ride and drop the bikes off at any Co-bikes site – much like London’s ‘Boris Bike’ concept, except with electric bikes. Each dock has between four and eight bikes.

The e-bikes are initially available at sites across Exeter, including Exeter Central train station, Exeter University and Sowton Park and Ride, with the Civic Centre and County Hall coming later in 2016. By Spring 2017 the scheme will be extended to eight sites in and around the city.

Bike and car hire

Co-bikes is the brainchild of the team behind Exeter-based Co-cars, the fastest-growing hire-by-the-hour car club in the South West, with cars available across Exeter, Salisbury, Dorchester, Barnstaple and other towns.

While the bikes are available for hire by anyone, Co-bikes also offers joint membership with Co-cars. With this hiring scheme a single smart card will give members access to all of the bikes and cars under the Co-bikes/Co-cars umbrella. This is the first one-card membership scheme for car and bike hire in the UK.

‘We’re pleased to have been able to help Co-bikes make this ground-breaking scheme in Exeter a reality. The Co-bikes provide a truly sustainable travel choice that makes it easy to get around the city, and opens up the option of travelling by bike to more people. The initiative complements the County Council’s infrastructure improvements, such as the new rail stations in and around Exeter as part of the Devon Metro, to help tackle congestion and support economic growth.’

COUNCILLOR STUART HUGHES
Devon County Council Cabinet member for Highway Management

’A travel revolution’

Co-bikes is the first UK electric bike member of the fast-growing global nextbike network which has normal UK bike share schemes in Bath, Milton Keynes, Coventry, Belfast, Stirling Glasgow and in over 100 locations worldwide. This will give Co-bikes members automatic access to bikes at cities across the UK and overseas.

‘After years of planning, we’re very excited to be launching Co-bikes in Exeter. The Co-bikes electric bikes are changing the way that people travel around the city and are affordable and easy as well as being great fun to ride! We all know that our cities are becoming more congested and spread-out, and a travel revolution is needed to help people more easily, quickly, enjoyably and affordably reach their business, study or leisure destinations.

‘Electric bikes are the catalyst for this revolution and for an easy, enjoyable, electric Exeter. Because of their small footprint, they can easily be docked on the street by transport hubs, business and retail parks, and residential communities – helping people link up other transport options in the way that best suits them.’

MARK HODGSON
Managing director of Co-bikes and Co-cars

Costs

The e-bikes can be hired and returned to any docking station on the Co-bikes network. Like its sister company Co-cars, Co-bikes are hired on a pay-as-you-go basis.

People can hire the bikes on spec, or become a joint member of both organisations to gain discounts on both bike and car hire. Prices start from 75p per 30 mins for members and £1.50 for 30 mins for non-members.

Click here to find out more about Co-bikes and its electric bike hire network.