Edinburgh's electric Just Eat hire bikes delayed to next year

Edinburgh's electric hire bikes have been delayed till next year, Just Eat Cycles operator Serco announced today.

Wednesday, 18th September 2019, 08:17 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th September 2019, 18:06 pm
One of the Pashley e-bilkes being put through its paces on Ramsay Lane in Edinburgh. Picture: Serco

The fleet of 168 bikes will not be available the the public until spring 2020 rather than this autumn.

Officials had previously pledged they would go into service within a year of the hire scheme being launched last September.

Serco said in May last year: "The electric bikes will be introduced by the end of the first year of the scheme."

The electric bikes enable effortless pedalling up hills like Victoria Street in Edinburgh. Picture: Serco

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They said the first 30 of the Pashley e-bikes would now be trialled at events and with organisations such as Edinburgh University ahead of the fleet being launched "for full public use" in the spring.

Just Eat Cycles general manager Charles Graham said it had decided a spring launch was more promising after launching the traditional hire bikes last autumn.

He told The Scotsman: "We feel it would be better to launch in the spring when there would be higher usage."

Hire costs have not yet been published, but Mr Graham said they would not be as much as twice the rate for the scheme's other bikes, of £1.50 an hour or £3 per day of unlimited 60-minute rides.

The electric bikes were due to have been in service by this month. Picture: Serco

The e-bikes, which still require riders to pedal, have a maximum speed of 15mph.

They have a slightly different frame and a different colour scheme from the scheme's other 500 bikes.

Mr Graham said: “In the spring, the people of Edinburgh will have access to a fleet of e-bikes, which will provide an alternative mode of transport which is sustainable and cost effective.

"The e-bikes will help re-introduce cycling to harder to reach groups, including older users and those who may not have ridden a bike for many years.

“Edinburgh’s hills can be intimidating for some, but with a constant electrical boost, getting up some of Edinburgh’s steepest braes will be considerably easier using our e-bikes.

"There are clear patterns of use which show many people riding pedal bikes downhill to areas in Leith and the New Town.

"It is our hope e-bikes will be the incentive for people to try the return leg of the journey by e-bike.”

George Lowder, chief executive of city council-run Transport for Edinburgh, which is in charge of the scheme, said: “This is an important step as we look to continue providing residents with a range of carbon-friendly transport options to choose from.

"E-bikes are a fantastic example of how city-wide cycling can be made as accessible as possible.

"It’s our hope the continued success of Edinburgh’s cycle hire scheme encourages more people to consider cycling as a low cost and convenient travel option.”

Mr Lowder told The Scotsman last year: "We expect 100 e bikes should be incorporated into the scheme within a year of launch, so by 17 September 2019."

City council transport and environment convener Lesley Macinnes said: “As an e-bike user myself, I know how much easier they make navigating Edinburgh’s hilly terrain, so I’m pleased that this roll-out will help cyclists of all abilities benefit from the scheme.

"The cycle hire scheme has been an extremely welcome addition since its launch last year, offering a sustainable, healthy and enjoyable transport alternative for people living in or visiting the city."