02 Feb 2022
Leeds pedals out bid for public e-bike ambition
Leeds City Council's executive board will consider a report to approve a minimum £2 million funding bid to implement a fully docked, public electric bike hire scheme in the city.
The funding bid will be discussed at the meeting of senior councillors held at Leeds Civic Hall on Wednesday 9 February, seeking to approve the application of the scheme, including the approach to the design, delivery, and operation.
The scheme is designed to ensure a low carbon mobility choice is available throughout Leeds, with e-bikes serving routes and locations that would benefit the most from the service. The proposed area for the early phases of the scheme will include the city centre and along key corridors identified where demand is likely to be highest. The funding, if successful will be used to:
- Create a network of approximately 630 e-bikes located across 140 hubs/docking stations located at close intervals for convenience.
- The bikes will be for public use, including residents, students, workers, and visitors of Leeds and must be docked at the end of the trip.
- Initial delivery will be in areas of high demand, close to the existing network of segregated cycle routes in Leeds city centre and surrounding areas, with expansion expected during future roll out phases. However, the procurement process will allow potential public bike operators to submit a bid that includes other areas.
- Leeds City Council will propose a variety of ways to pay for hire of e-bikes, such as pay-as-you go, monthly and corporate memberships with the potential to integrate with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority MCard.
- Introduce a public bike hire scheme where the infrastructure will be publicly funded through the Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) and operated by an external bike hire organisation.
- The potential to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days per year (except for extreme weather conditions which might restrict normal use).
- A tariff for the scheme will be set once an operator is procured with an aim to keep it comparable to public transport fares.
Compared to conventional bikes, e-bikes are an easier access point for new users including older people, women, people with limited physical strength, people who have limited cycling confidence or experience and people who are looking to take up cycling. Leeds City Council work closely with accessibility groups to ensure the service will be available to as many users as possible.
The scheme is designed to appeal to people who want to be able to access the amenities they need, from places of work, places to shop, places of education and leisure destinations. The scheme will complement the segregated cycleways that have been built across Leeds recently, offering safer routes for cyclists in the city. It reflects the Connecting Leeds Transport Strategy to make Leeds a city where you don’t need a car, including de-carbonising travel and improving health and well-being.
The capital funds to deliver the project are being sought from the combined authority through its Transforming Cities Fund (TCF). If approved, the proposal and business case which bids for £2 million will be considered by the combined authority on 17 March 2022.
Councillor Helen Hayden, executive member for infrastructure and climate said:
“We want Leeds to be a city where you don’t need to own car and a key part of that is expanding and supporting our cycling network. Cycling is a great way to travel for short journeys, as well as long, and this proposal will make it easier for people to make that change.
“Introducing an e-bike scheme will send a strong message, to the public and businesses, that Leeds is a modern, forward looking city and is serious about tackling the climate emergency.
“I was fortunate enough to try riding a e-cargo trike last year. I found it to be easy to do in everyday clothes and, despite a heavy load in the bike box, it was a really easy ride.
“I appreciate however, e-bikes are more expensive to purchase than conventional bikes and therefore for the public to be able to access low-cost, easy access e-bikes through a docked, public electric bike hire scheme will give everyone the opportunity.
“The Connecting Leeds Transport Strategy sets out the reasons for, and benefits of, increasing cycling in Leeds and is vital to meet our pledge for Leeds to become carbon neutral by 2030.”
The Leeds City Region TCF programme; is a major new programme of investment that aims to deliver transformational, new infrastructure and help create a step change in travel across the region. Doing so will help make active travel options like cycling safer and more appealing for people and will be essential to reducing reliance on car in the city centre.
Public consultation on the detail of the proposed scheme will commence once funding for the project has been secured.
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Leeds City Council