The Big Issue Group, in partnership with ShareBike, has launched a national eBikes scheme, launching the first services in Bristol.
The scheme, the first of its kind, will recruit and retrain unemployed and vulnerable people in local communities, aiming to boost green employment opportunities and transport options in smaller cities and towns across the UK. Bike sharing has expanded rapidly in cities across the globe, and today over 500 cities worldwide have bike sharing schemes, Even Amsterdam, which had previously prohibited these services, are bringing them back to the city.
The scheme, launched with a £450,000 investment from City Funds, a Bristol-based impact investment fund run by Bristol & Bath Regional Capital (BBRC), will recruit and retrain people who were previously unemployed and support them back into work to run the e-bike programme- starting with a team of 10 employees at the Bristol hub.
The scheme was launched in 2020 and suffered delays due to pandemic induced supply restrictions. However, it is now underway and the first bikes were launched in January 2022. Following the first hub in Bristol, a further 14 further fleets over the next 24 months are planned.
The Big Issue is an award-winning weekly entertainment and current affairs magazine, designed to support those in need. Since its launch in 1991, over 200 million copies of The Big Issue magazine have been sold by over 100,000 vulnerable people, providing vendors with the means to earn a legitimate income.
Big Issue eBikes will also support Bristol’s Clean Air Plan by providing an alternative to car use. Currently over 80% of Bristol’s pollution has been shown to be from local traffic sources, and it is estimated that around 500 bikes is a direct reduction of 1,900 car trips a day.
The Big Issue and ShareBike are now calling local businesses to take up the scheme in order to provide ethical and sustainable ways for people to travel and support unemployed or vulnerable people back into skilled work.
Original article published by bristolcityfunds.co.uk on 1 February 2022.
Photo Credit: ©FREEPIK2 - no permission to re-use image(s) without separate license from Shutterstock.