The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, led by Mayor James Palmer, has today (21st January 2021) launched electric bikes for public hire in Cambridge and Peterborough City centers.
Cambridge and Peterborough residents will be able to hire Voi e-bikes to move safely while making essential journeys while adhering to the social distancing recommendations.
E-scooters and e-bikes offer a green and accessible way for key workers to travel to and from work. They can also support those needing to travel to COVID vaccination centres, whilst complying with the current COVID restrictions in place across the region.
Voi is offering free e-bike rides to NHS and Emergency Service workers as part of its Voi 4 Heroes initiative.
The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority is one of the first in the UK to offer both e bikes and e scooters to its residents, giving them two new flexible and carbon-neutral transport options.
Initially, there will be 20 e-bikes available to rent in each city and they will be available 24/7. Voi e-bikes can be pedalled and are assisted by an electric motor up to 15.5 mph. When fully charged, Voi’s e-bike can ride up to 31 miles. Voi will ensure the bikes always remain powered up, and batteries will be swapped out by the Voi teams overnight.
In Cambridge the bikes will be initially deployed in the following locations (and returned there over night by Voi staff):
Cambridge Train Station x2
Castle Street (near the Cambridgeshire County Council)
St Johns Street (near Old Divinity School, St John’s College)
Newmarket Road (near the Travelodge)
Cherry Hinton Road (near Tesco Express)
New Square Park
Babraham Road Park and Ride
Tennis Ct Road (near Department of Pathology – University of Cambridge)
Park Terrace (on Parker’s Piece)
Addenbrooke’s Hospital (near staff car park 6) x2
Trumpington Road with Newton Rd (near Nuffield Health Cambridge Hospital)
Dame Mary Archer War (around the Addenbrooke’s Hospital) x2
Trumpington Park & Ride x2
Milton Road with Lovell Rd
Kings Hedges Road with Chariot Way
Arbury Road (near Arbury Court Library)
In Peterborough they can be found at:
Station Road (near the train station)
Peterborough City Hospital
North Bank Road with Airfields Cycleway
Welland Road (near Spar and Subway)
Oxclose (near Royal Mail Post Box)
Audley Gate (near Royal Mail Post Box)
Oundle Road (in from of Co-op)
Hawksbill Way (near London Rd)
Welland Road with Birchtree Avenue
Westgate with Lincoln Rd
Broadway (near Council Offices)
City Rd with Laxton Square x2
Paynels (near Virans)
Ortongate Shopping Centre
Park Road (in the roundabout)
Similarly to e-scooters, to ride an e-bike, users need to be 18 years old and over, are required to download the Voi app, available for free on Apple App Store or Google Play, and will have to present at least a provisional license.
It costs £1 to unlock the e-bike and then £0.15 per minute of usage. Voi also offers 24-hour (at £10) and 30-day (at £40) subscriptions that allow users to take an unlimited number of rides at a fixed rate. In addition, there are discounts for students and those on a low income.
As part of its Voi 4 Heroes initiative, Voi is offering NHS and Emergency Service Workers free access to e scooters and e bikes during the lockdown, so it is easier for them to move around town in a socially distanced manner. To be eligible, users must upload their NHS identity, Blue Light Card or Defence Discount Service to the Voi app or website.
In Cambridge, riders will find e-bikes parked next to e-scooters and they will be bound by the same geographical area as e-scooters. Peterborough will have its own geographical area. Voi e-bikes use geofencing to ensure no ride, slow ride and no parking zones are observed, and they will be fitted with number plates to make it easy to identify and report.
Mayor James Palmer said:
“There’s no doubt the coming weeks are going to be challenging for key workers and I’m pleased to be able to offer a free public transport option to help doctors, nurses, Emergency Service workers and other critical staff get to and from work safely. E-scooters have already proven to be an important mode of transportation during these times, and e-bikes will help key workers go further where it’s needed.
“I am proud of the part we have played at the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority to quickly bring forward these innovative schemes, delivering for local residents without compromising on safety. It is a clear demonstration of our commitment to new public transport options that are effective, efficient and environmentally friendly”
Richard Corbett, Regional General Manager of UK, Ireland and Benelux for Voi, said:
“Micro-mobility has proven to be a critical lifeline during the pandemic. Following the e-scooter trial’s success, we are delighted to bring our green multimodal offer to Cambridge and Peterborough. E-bikes are a perfect complement to our shared e-scooters hire scheme, offering key workers two safe ways to commute in a socially distanced way.”
Safety is the number one priority for both the Combined Authority and Voi. As with e-scooters, Voi’s e-bikes will also be cleaned and disinfected every 24 hours to ensure that they cannot become a source of infection. In addition, Voi e-bikes are fitted with copper tape that inactivates and minimises the transmission of coronavirus. Voi also provides COVID-19 advice and information via the app and encourages its users to use hand sanitiser and wear gloves.
The same traffic rules that apply to bicycles and e-scooters also apply to e-bikes. For the launch of our new e-bikes, Voi worked with VIAS research institute and developed 8 points for safe riding. These points are based on the UK traffic rules, signs, signals and general safety precautions.
Use dedicated cycling infrastructure
Watch out for pedestrians
Signal to other road users
Ride on the left side of the road or cycle lane
Obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals
Do not drink and ride
Pay attention and adapt your riding to your surroundings
Keep your distance and stay alert
In addition, Voi advises e-bike riders to wear a helmet when riding a bike, so they stay safe.
Voi will continue work alongside local authorities to continue to educate riders through online and offline educational campaigns. Riders will also be encouraged to complete Voi’s digital e-scooter traffic school #RideLikeVoila, the world’s first certified digital traffic school.
As the trial progresses, Voi will continue to work closely with local authorities and police force to guarantee a successful trial phase.
The data collected from the usage of these two modes of transport will allow Voi and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to optimise the integration with local public transport. Ultimately, reducing short car journeys significantly, cutting congestion and improving air quality, which will benefit all the residents in the region.
E-scooters have become an affordable and eco-friendly alternative to travelling around Cambridge. Since the beginning of the trial three weeks ago, there have been more than 28,000 rides, and there are over 8,000 unique active users registered. The average ride length is 14 minutes and riders have travelled more than 57,000 km since launch.