Woo Bikes – City bike share pilot
What is it?
Since 2010/11 the University of Worcester has operated a short term bike share scheme. This 50 bike scheme has increased in popularity in each year of operation. Students and staff can join for an annual £30 fee then borrow bikes at no extra cost. Members hire bikes for a 7 day period and return them to two locations, City and St Johns Campus reception. Members are issued free helmets and lights and bikes can be used and locked anywhere. There is a small daily fine £2 for late returned bikes.
Woo Bikes extends this scheme by adding an additional 50 electric bikes, or e-bikes. These bikes have a battery, you ride it like a normal bike, but as soon as you pedal, the motor gives riders a boost whenever you need it. These bikes have no gears, you pedal to go faster, brake to slow. Members can hire e-bikes for an additional 24 hour fee £2, with a £4/day late return fee.
Why are we doing this?
One of the key aims of the scheme is to enable a ‘try before you buy’ approach to encourage our community to cycle. We anticipate that those who try, and become regular users, may commit to buying their own bike. The City is experiencing increased car congestion. There is an increase in single occupancy car use and there is an increase in both University students and staff using cars, including driving between University sites. It is likely that these trends are adding to air pollution in key City road corridors. The City is also experiencing a fall in cycling. The aim is to offer a wider travel choice as part of an overall strategy to manage congestion; reduce travel costs and support healthy living styles.
Research supported by central government in e-bike hire schemes across the country concluded that e-bike share schemes “widen the appeal of cycling” and particularly “supports the switching to e-bikes from up to 5-mile car journeys, compared to 3-mile car journeys for conventional cycling”. This meets the profile of car commuting in and out of Worcester City and the hilly nature of the City.
What is it trying to achieve?
Encouraging potential new students to not even contemplate bringing a car with them when they apply to study in Worcester. Reducing the number of commute journeys by people who currently drive on their own to work or study and live within 5 miles of their destination.
Who is it for?
Initially for University of Worcester students and staff and rolling it out to other major employers and Worcester citizens.
When does it start?
Starting at the University of Worcester 12th February 2018 and expanding in Worcester City with students’ leading on have a go sessions from 17th April 2018.
Who are the partners?
Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, Worcestershire County Council, Worcester City Council, Gtech, Emily Jordan Foundation and the University of Worcester.