The UK shared electric scooter trials have dominated micromobility development here the last couple of years. However, bikeshare is now starting to enjoy something of a renaissance after a pause caused by the “boom and bust” of the oBike, Mobike and ofo dockless bike operations in 2017 and 2018, and because of continuous improvements in the technology behind electric bikeshare in particular.
Costs have come down and the systems are now popular for users and affordable for the operators. They are also attractive to local authorities with active travel budgets to spend and unconstrained by the limitations of the current e-scooter legislation.
Recently, electric bikeshare has gone live in Bristol, and fleets in the West Midlands and Manchester are scaling up (Manchester is due to launch in full this summer), while the e-scooter operators Voi, TIER and Lime also have sizeable electric bikeshare fleets in the UK. It looks like there is plenty on the horizon too.
ZAG has taken a look at public tenders and announcements to see where in the UK bikeshare schemes are likely to launch.
This summer, London’s Santander Cycles will be getting some electric bikes incorporated into its central London operation. The expansion was announced back in 2020, so it’s been a long time coming. When they do finally appear they will be competing against three other electric bikeshare fleets – HumanForest, Lime and TIER. Dott was also due to launch but that appears on ice for now.
An electric bikeshare service will be launched imminently in Hackney – a London borough where almost a quarter of people already travel by bicycle to work. The operator has not been announced yet but is already operating bikes in London. We think it will be HumanForest, which currently covers an arc stretching from Kensington, down to Wandsworth, across Lambeth and back up to Islington. Hackney would be a natural extension.
Kingston-upon-Thames and Sutton
The south-west London boroughs are tendering for an electric bikeshare of their own. If one of the existing operators in London win, hopefully they will link up and create a cross-city network. The announcement also mentions Merton (the borough containing Wimbledon).
Portsmouth/Southampton and the Isle of Wight
These south-coast communities recently tendered for a manual or electric bikeshare fleet of their own. They already have shared electric scooters run by Voi and Beryl respectively.
Also on the south coast, and also recently tendered for a pedelec system.
Up in Scotland, the largely rural county east of Edinburgh is looking for initial supplier interest for an electric fleet across its whole area. GO e-Bike currently operates a limited “Bewegen” electric fleet in the west of the county.
This small town is looking for a small, manual fleet of bikeshare bikes to complement a set of massive new housing developments being built there. However, there is no bikeshare in neighbouring Dunstable or Luton, the destination for many journeys here – a missed opportunity to think big.
Cornwall (Falmouth, Penryn, St Austell, Truro, Penzance)
Finally, one county is thinking big and tendering for bikeshare in all its major towns. Cornwall is looking for an electric scheme, initially to pilot in the above towns before expanding further to locations such as St Ives, Camborne and Newquay.