Categories
Electric Expansions

Further Details on EScootershare Coming in June

Further details have emerged about this summer’s escootershare UK “revolution”.

  • Capped at 12.5mph – below the 15.5mph for pedelec.
  • You’ll need a provisional or full driving licence to use them.
  • Only escootershare for now – personal escooters are not (yet) to be legalised.
  • Bicycle-style helmets to be recommended but not mandated.
  • Will be able to legally go where bicycles can go (so cycle tracks/lanes, roads but not pavements except where marked).
  • Councils will be able to dictate local policy, e.g. mandatory hub parking.

No word yet from potential operators themselves. One assumes that Lime and Bird will be the obvious two to start, in London, although neither may be in an expansion mood following painful lockdown-related layoffs recently. Bird has run the only escootershare in London and indeed the UK, so far – a small (and expensive – 25p/minute!) operation of around 15 bikes going between three hubs on the nominally private land of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London.

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Electric Expansions

Human Forest

Lime and JUMP may be merging, but the number of bikeshare operators with their eye on London won’t be falling. A new operator, Human Forest, is looking to launch this summer, promising the first “free ebike” bikeshare in the capital. (Freebike – the clue is in the name – also have a free mode of operation on their bikes, if you don’t use the battery-assist.) 

Their website is sparse but includes a photo of their bike – intriguingly apparently without a wheel lock:

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Closures Electric

Uber Offloads JUMP to Lime

Uber has offloaded its JUMP ebikeshare and (outside the UK) escootershare operation, to Lime, and invested a sum of money in Lime. The move has resulted in a large number of job losses at JUMP, as Uber looks to shore up its finances and focus on those currently profitable. It is the end for JUMP which arose from Social Bicycles (whose largest operation was the GRID bikeshare in Phoenix, USA) as their ebikeshare brand, before being bought by Uber.

JUMP had suspended its operations globally except for in Milan and London, perhaps an indication of the two cities where it remained popular. Certainly, the system was (and still is) well used in London, with each bike normally being used for multiple journeys a day – always a healthy sign for a bikeshare system. JUMP’s London fleet is currently 600 bikes – around a third of its 2020 maximum. Following the Lime offloading, the bikes most disappeared from London streets for a couple of days and nights – possibly while the local operating team was digesting the news – but are now back and continuing to be used well.

I understand that Lime, who withdrew their bikes at the beginning of lockdown, will be likely not putting their own fleet of bikes back out on the streets of London, instead using (and presumably rebranding) the JUMP fleet they now own, due to the better hardware and performance of the latter bike. Lime had mainly moved to escootershare anyway, except in London.

It will be interesting to see how London’s bikeshare map looks following the merger of the two biggest electric fleets and the resumption of normal service post-lockdown. Lime operated in more areas of London than JUMP, and also tended to operate in areas without formal agreements with the borough councils – they also have not published an availability fleet, the only UK operator to not do so. They also frequently expanded and shrunk their operating area. JUMP on the other hand has taken a more formal approach. The two had some overlap but also operated in different boroughs – it is not clear whether the permitting in Hackney, for instance, will transfer to Lime. Hackney operates a hub-only permit model, with two seats, currently awarded to JUMP and Beryl.

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Electric Expansions

EScooters and EScootershare to be made Legal in UK in June

The government has today announced that they are fast-tracking making escooters, and by extension escootershare, legal, on UK roads from June. The planned four trial areas, which were announced a few months ago, have been expanded to cover the whole of the, UK, as the government shifts from a prescriptive, cautious approach, to allowing a mode of transport that could have substantial benefits to a population potentially avoiding public transport post-lockdown and roads that will not be able to take the anticipated increase in car volume:

E-scooter trials will also be brought forward from next year to next month to help encourage more people off public transport and onto greener alternatives. Originally set to take place in 4 Future Transport Zones, the trials of rental e-scooters – which will now be offered to all local areas across the country – will allow government to assess the benefits of e-scooters as well as their impact on public space, with the potential to see rental vehicles on UK roads as early as June.

UK Government announcement

The UK’s only active public escootershare service, Bird, which operated a small fleet of around 15 escooters between three hubs on technically private parkland in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London, abruptly shut down at the beginning of lockdown in late March.

Global escootershare firms, including Bird and Lime, have been increasingly frustatingly lobbying the government for legislation, over the last few years. But it has taken a looming transportation crisis in London and after cities, on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic, and a change of Transport Minister, to make it happen. Better late than never.

Bikesharp welcomes these extra micromobility options that soon could be on UK streets, and is also intrigued by the announcement of a “Bike tube” organised by TfL – improved central London bicycle routes that mirror the tube running beneath them.

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Electric Expansions

Edinburgh Launching Pedelec Bikes on 2 March

Edinburgh’s Just Eat Cycles is launching pedelec (electric) bikes into its fleet on 2 March. The bikes will make up approximately 1/3rd of the fleet and will be dockable at any of the existing docking stations. Fees are 10p/minute, on top of the existing £1.50 hire charge for the regular bikes. Subscribers pay the minutely fee too but, as with the manual bikes, there is no hire charge).

More details at https://medium.com/@justeatcycles/edinburghs-rentable-e-bikes-to-be-available-from-2-march-and-cost-10p-per-minute-c4cefcdab6a5

Congratulations to Edinburgh for beating London’ Santander Cycles (which has the same operators and similar bikes). Edinburgh joins Glasgow, London’s Jump, Lime and Freebike systems, Milton Keynes’ Lime, Brighton and Exeter, in having part or all electric fleets.

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Electric Expansions

Beryl Expanding into Watford and NYC

East-London startup Beryl continues to expand their bikesharing footprint – their existing hub-based operations in the City of London, Hereford and Bournemouth/Poole are being joined by a 200-300 bike system in Watford next spring. Of note, this will include 100 electric bikes – a first for Beryl.

Mixed-type systems are fairly rare due to their operational complexity for both users and operators, however both London’s Santander Cycles and Edinburgh’s Just Eat Cycles are also going to part-introduce electric bikes to their fleet. Glasgow already has such a system, but the limited numbers of electrified docks cause confusion and fines for their users.

Beryl are also expanding internationally, launching an up-to-1000-bike system in Staten Island, one of New York City’s five boroughs and not currently served by the 14000 dock-based bikeshare bikes in Manhatten, Brooklyn and Queens. Staten Island has recently withdrawn the permits for Lime and JUMP, who were operating dockless systems in the borough. Beryl’s system here will presumably also be electric, due to Staten Island’s notoriously hilly topography.

Beryl was due to expand in London to Barnet, however they recently withdrew from neighbouring Enfield due to vandalism, so they may have decided that outer-London surburbia’s low density and limited existing cycling infrastructure and opportunity is not for them.

Beryl is also expanding their London footprint to Hackney, and launching in Norwich, soon.

Categories
Data Electric

Lime Reports 1 Million Rides in London

Lime’s “Lime-E” pedelec bikeshare system in London has hit one million rides since launch, 11 months ago – an average of just over 3000 rides per day.

I estimate that Lime currently has around 1500 bikes on the road, up slightly from 1400 in February and 1000 shortly after launch. So, averaging 1300 bikes across 330 days we have a good average utilisation rate of 2.3 trips per bike per day (t/b/d). This compares quite well with around 2.5 for JUMP, the rival dockless pedelec system, and around 3 for Santander Cycles, London’s preeminent public system. (JUMP’s estimate is just for the more popular summer period as they launched this May, while Lime and Santander Cycles both include the tougher winter period – so I would expect JUMP and Lime to end up with around the same year-averaged t/b/d rate after this winter).

Lime also report 2 million km for the 1 million journeys, so an average distance of 2km. This is slightly more than the typical 1.6km journey we see for unpowered systems, although slightly less than the typical 3km journey I would expect for powered systems – perhaps due to constraints in where the bikes are available (although Lime does have the best coverage in London – even after their winter reduction) or the high cost of each journey – Lime is far and away the most expensive of the six central London systems – only Bird’s scooters in the Olympic Park are more, and those are targeted at tourists anyway, so less of an issue.

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Electric

Nextbike Glasgow Adds Electric Bikes To Fleet

The latest UK system to go part-electric is Glasgow’s system which is run by Nextbike. The operator has published a map showing which docking stations “pedelec” electric bikes will be able to be hired from and returned to. Manual bikes will also be able to use these docking stations as well as the non-electrified ones.

Glasgow normally has around 400 bikes available although at the time of writing this has dropped to just over half this number – it looks like the manual fleet is being partially replaced by the pedelecs rather than it being a system expansion or alternatively the docking stations themselves are temporarily out of use while being converted.

The Glasgow system dock-based. While journeys can finish out-of-dock, a £5-£20 fine is charged depending on membership type, with membership cancellation for repeated out-of-dock ends.

Nextbike GlasgowPedal
Daily
Electric
Daily
Pedal
Annual
Membership Fee£0£0£60/year
Start Fee£0£0£0
Usage Fee£1/30min,
£10 max/24h
£2/20min
£30 max/24h
50p/30min
£5 max/24h
Usage CreditN/A N/A30 min/
journey
Out-of-Hub End Fee£10£20£5
Out-of-Hub Start CreditN/AN/AN/A

Monthly memberships are also available (£10/month). Maximum journey 24 hours.

Categories
Electric

Serco Demonstrates Pashley Pedelecs in London and Edinburgh

Santander Cycles pedelecs in London. Photo by @maidstoneonbike.

Serco, who run the London “Santander Cycles” and Edinburgh “Just Eat Cycles” urban bikeshare systems, showed off the electric bike varient of their Pashley-built bikes, at a Car Free Day event at Tower Bridge in London and in Edinburgh, yesterday.

The Santander Cycles twitter account revealed some details of the new pedelecs: like the regular bikes, they are assembled by Pashley in Stratford upon Avon, they have a 250W motor which provides 70N/m of torque. In London, there is already electric competition, with Jump, Lime and Freebike all providing powered alternatives, while in Edinburgh, for now, Serco’s system remains the only bikeshare option.

In London, Serco or Transport for London haven’t yet announced their plans for how or when they would offer electric bikes as part of the existing fleet. However in Edinburgh, Serco have already announced that the electric bikes will be coming.

As both the London and Edinburgh bikes shown appear identical, and Edinburgh’s docking stations don’t have power (indeed some are just marked rather than with physical anchor points), it is suspected that both systems will use operator-managed swappable batteries rather than dock-based battery charging.

London’s systems is run by Serco as an operational contract for Transport for London, while Edinburgh’s system is run under a more general specification agreement with Transport for Edinburgh where Serco have more freedom – and incentive – to innovate, such as moving docking station locations (e.g. to manage poor usage or vandalism) and changing redistribution strategies.

Just Eat Cycles pedelecs on show in Edinburgh. Photos by @2wheels2dex.

Categories
Electric Expansions

Lincoln Goes Electric

Hirebike, the bikeshare system in Lincoln, has announced that pedelecs (electric bikes) are joining its existing manual system. A number of docking stations have been converted to take electric bikes as well as manual ones, and at least one electric bike is available for hire, along with the existing non-assist bikes. Lincoln is a small city surrounded by a number of villages, some with docking stations, the distances mean it makes a lot of sense to have some electric capability in the fleet. Although the area is mainly flat, central Lincoln is on a hill – indeed the street between the old and new towns (and depicted in the graphic above) is called “Steep Hill” so, for example, students getting to the cathedral area, from the university campus on the waterside, will no doubt appreciate the easier pedalling.

Lincoln’s system is quite small (around 90 bikes, including 1 electric currently, across 26 docking stations) but usage will no doubt be boosted by this innovation.