First 50 of 500 for-hire e-bikes to appear in Liverpool as the city council scraps the loss-making Citybike scheme. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool will see the introduction of 500 for-hire e-bikes in a scheme managed by the same company that operates the city’s e-scooters.
Swedish company Voi will introduce the first 50 e-bikes to the city in August. It will replace the Citybike bike hire scheme that was first introduced in 2014. Citybike was initially a hit but is now losing £300,000 a year.
Liverpool City Council’s cabinet has approved the new deal with Voi that will also see the e-scooter trial extended to May 2024. The authority will not remove the Citybikes and donate them to charities and community groups.
Voi’s e-bikes are dockless, similar to the e-scooters. They do not require docking stations as seen with the Citybike scheme. A digital pass and subscription service will offer discounts for students, military personnel and veterans, teaching staff, NHS workers and people on benefits.
The area for the e-bike operation will be the same as the e-scooters. This covers 80% of Liverpool and uses the same geofencing/parking models.
Cllr Dan Barrington, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: “The Citybike scheme proved very popular. It has helped thousands of people get active and cycle across the city.
“However, the impact of 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.”
Sam Pooke, senior policy manager at Voi UK, added: “To date, more than 2.6m rides have been taken on Voi scooters. These have replaced an estimated 1.1m short car trips.”