National shared transport charity Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK) is offering low-income Glaswegians free bike-share memberships for the citywide OVO bike scheme.
With 100 free one-year memberships available, the charity hopes that the scheme will encourage those struggling with public transport costs to access sustainable travel options.
“If we want the maximum number of people to make use of sustainable travel options, such services must be cost-effective, easy to use and convenient,” Hannah Box, Community Engagement Officer at CoMoUK, told Zag Daily.
“Too often in the UK this is not the case, and during the cost-of-living crisis it is more important than ever that environmentally friendly transport modes are also affordable to people.”
Those who face difficulties with accessing public transport can apply for one of the available memberships online with no bank details required.
The project is aimed at those living in areas of deprivation, or who identify the cost of transport to be a challenge or barrier to them carrying out essential journeys.
Approved applicants will receive login details for the bike hire app which entitles them to unlimited free hour-long bike rides for a year.
“People who report being out of a job or having unreliable income will be prioritised for the free memberships, along with those that receive benefits,” Hannah said.
Hannah added that CoMoUK recognises that the cost-of-living crisis may mean full-time workers are also experiencing transport poverty and the scheme will consider their circumstances when assigning memberships.
“The project also aims to support minority groups, refugees and asylum seekers and increase access to the scheme for all.”
CoMoUK hopes that the free memberships will encourage users to continue using bikeshare services after the free year has ended.
“We believe that recipients of the free memberships will gain confidence using the bikes to cycle for fun and as a means of transport.
“Those using the bikes for transport may also be able to save money in the future by giving up other less sustainable options such as private cars.”
Hannah also added that the charity hopes to continue receiving funding to support those who will still need free access to sustainable transport after the initial period.
The scheme is part of CoMoUK’s wider Shared Transport for All project which sees its second year in supporting people in deprived communities to have better access to shared transport options in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
In its first year, the project engaged with more than 150 organisations and 400 people in targeted communities to encourage the use of car clubs and bike share schemes. For its second year, the £49,000 project hopes to highlight local sustainable transport modes by engaging with housing associations and their tenants in Edinburgh and Glasgow. It also plans to run group bike rides and cycle safety workshops with partner organisations.
“The mission is to increase awareness of shared transport options including bike share, car share, and ride share and enable more people on lower incomes or from minority groups to access shared transport.
“We hope this will in turn improve health and wellbeing and help more people save money on transport costs.”
Glasgow City Council published bikeshare figures in November last year which showed that 2.5 million journeys have been made using the OVO bike share scheme since its launch in 2014.
“Glasgow’s shared bike scheme already offers excellent value, but we hope that the offer of free memberships will prompt those who may never have used the service before to experience it for the first time.”