i6: Electric Bike Renting Scheme Across City

7 supporter

I suggest implementing an electric bicycle renting scheme across the city with frequent stations where citizens (and visitors) can rent an e-bike and then leave it at the next station close to their destination. E-bikes should be offered along with conventional bicycles. Renting can work through an app. For it to be successful, the network of stations needs to be dense. Also, I would like to see e-bikes available to rent with children seats and cargo e-bikes. A similar scheme exists for instance in Verona, Italy, see here: https://bikeverona.it/en. Vouchers should be given to low-income households.  

Rationale
We need to move away from excessive private car usage, particularly within the city, for climate change reasons, for health reasons (air pollution) and for aesthetic reasons. While the expansion of public transport such as buses is quite important, people do like their independence and for that reason often prefer cars, so e-bikes could be a more attractive solution as it allows for greater personal control (no need to wait for the bus) while avoiding all the issues that come with car usage. Also, people may prefer to avoid packed public transport. Bicycles have the additional benefit of providing an exercise opportunity, but for people who are not very fit, e-bikes are needed given the hilliness of the roads and general preference in the population for low-impact workouts. Making e-bikes with child seats available for rent, as for instance is the case in Verona (Italy) allows families to utilise this service. Similarly, cargo e-bikes could allow people to use bikes to transport goods (e.g. shopping). 

Response to Suggestions
  • Safeguarding Agains Vandalism: This is a good point. In Verona Italy, the e-bikes are all locked and can be only unlocked once a user, who is registered on the system, unlocks it with their app. All personal details, including credit card details are with the company providing the service. There is a limitation on how long a bike can be used before it has to be returned to a station (if the user uses up the maximum time (2-3 hours), they will have to wait for 5 minutes, before they can rent a bike again), and so if a user violates this requirement, a penalty fee will be directly charged to their credit card and they will be suspended temporarily. Similarly, a penalty is due, if they return the bike in a damaged condition. They are also obliged to report any damage. So I suppose there are reasonable safeguarding measures against vandalism from customers. I guess to prevent vandalism from non-customers one could install CCTV cameras at the stations where the bikes are made available and police would have to investigate vandalism incidents. 
  • Privatisation: I see your point and maybe there is a way to organise the renting through some kind of cooperative etc. Maybe you want to put your idea forward as a competing initiative? Indeed one can use city cards or similar instead of smartphones. 
  • e-Scooters: I like the idea for also making e-scooters available. There are some concerns about their safety though and I guess one would have to look into how to make them safe around pedestrians. Again, maybe you want to suggest this as a competing initiative. Or one could indeed have both on offer e-bikes and e-scooters from one provider, whether private or public. 

Suggestions for improvement (3)

written and rated by the supportes of this initiative to improve the proposal and its reasons


Free form of public transport

collective rating: 
| implemented: 
I agree that e-bikes are a fantastic idea, my only big concern is that it is another way for private interests to profit while also locking out or exploiting the under-privileged. I say we implement e-bikes, without the need for renting them or using a smartphone to access them. I haven't quite come up with a solution around that, except - perhaps, (off the top of my head) when you take a bike you get a token, and when you replace it at a station you return the token and get a receipt or even a discount voucher or something of that nature (encourages spending in the city, if the person has the money). A kind of reward system for using the bikes. I'm sure there would be a way to do it for free, and without excluding people without smartphones. I'm sure others could have other suggestions on how this could be achieved. The bikes could be tracked to prevent theft. I just strongly disagree with public transport being even more privatised, it should be bought by the people for the people.

e-Scooters

collective rating: 
| implemented: 
Many cities now have rentable e-scooters available. I suggest any discussion should include these. To solve the need for a smartphone app problem the city could include rental in a smart card (eg. Oyster) system. Most major world cities I visit have a smart card for transportation. (but that's another issue). Further details on pluses and minuses of e-scooters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHrzEfJdu5Y

How to stop vandalism

Given the likely high cost of each e-bike, I think that such a scheme would need a credible mechanism to prevent bikes being vandalised or abandoned before it would be considered.

Issue #6

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Competing initiatives

Currently this is the only initiative in this issue, because nobody started a competing initiative (yet).

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