“e-bikes” to be added to York e-scooter trial?

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The trial of e-scooters has been operating in York since the 12th October.

According to a Council report, “the e-scooters are being introduced in a phased approach, gradually increasing the service area and number of e-scooters available.

This has split the city broadly into 5 sectors. Currently e-scooters are available in Sector 1 and 2, which includes e-scooter provision at the University of York, York Hospital, York St John’s University, and city centre locations.

 In the first six weeks of the trial, 10 parking locations were available for scooters with 116 e-scooters available for hire.

Over the first six weeks of the trial, 3,822 trips were taken, with a total of 25,012km travelled on e-scooters. During this period, no incidences (collisions) were reported”.

The report says, “other local authority areas participating in the trial have noted an increase in use of private e-scooters which remain illegal to ride on the public highway. Whilst their use has not been as prevalent in York, as the trial continues we may see a similar increase in use of private e scooters”.

The organisers of the scheme (TIER)  now want to expand the scooter numbers to 700 and add in some electric bikes.

 The rental of e-bikes would follow the same model as for e-scooters, with riders unlocking and paying for usage via a mobile phone app.  In line with government regulation, the maximum speed-assist of the e-bikes would be 15.5mph, with the power not exceeding 250 watts. Geo-fencing technology would be used to ensure a user cannot end their trip outside of designated parking locations and will continue the hire cost if left outside of these locations.

Pricing for e-bikes would be at the same cost as e-scooters, with £1 to unlock and £0.15 per minute to ride. (Thus a 20 minute ride from Acomb to the City centre would cost more than the equivalent bus fare)

Communal use transport, of course,  presents its own issues during the pandemic.

The proposal is to expand use as follows;

Sector 3 to include Clifton and Rawcliffe in January;

· Sector 4 to include Southbank and Heworth in February;

· Sector 5 to expand to the rest of the city from March 2021.

A meeting next week will decide whether to agree to expand the number of e-scooters available to 700. It is unclear how many e-bikes might be deployed.

There have been many previous attempts made to establish casual bike hire services in York. None have been successful, possibly because of the compact nature of the City which makes walking a viable option for many “journeys”.