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).
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.
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 Staten Island has recently withdrawn the permits for Lime and JUMP, who were operating dockless systems in the borough.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.
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.
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.
£1/30min, £10 max/24h
£2/20min £30 max/24h
50p/30min £5 max/24h
30 min/ journey
Out-of-Hub End Fee
Out-of-Hub Start Credit
Monthly memberships are also available (£10/month). Maximum journey 24 hours.
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.
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.