News | 5 December 2022

Easy access to e-bikes being considered

Wellingtonians and visitors to the city looking for low-carbon ways to get around may soon be able to hire e-bikes as easily as e-scooters.

Group of three with Beam bikes and helmets chatting.

On Thursday 8 December, Wellington City Council’s Kōrau Tūāpapa | Environment and Infrastructure Committee will consider whether to trial a public e-bike share scheme.

If Councillors give the go-ahead, e-bikes could be on the streets from early in the new year, allowing people to give them a try over summer. They would be hireable, locked and unlocked via apps just like the share e-scooters are.

Council staff are recommending the city’s existing e-scooter operators Beam and Flamingo be permitted to trial up to 50 e-bikes each initially, rising to a maximum of 150 each if things go well.

Operators and users will need to demonstrate they are prepared to leave bikes in safe, or designated spots and use the bikes in a way that keeps Wellington streets and footpaths as safe as possible.

The Committee will make the decision on whether to allow a trial, when it could start and how long it would run, but it is suggested one could get under way in January and be evaluated towards the end of next year ahead of the existing licences to operate on our streets coming up for renewal in March 2024.

Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau is keen to see share e-bikes trialled.  

“Share schemes like this are great because they make e-bike use possible for more people as we create a city where climate-positive lifestyles are more affordable and accessible.

“There is good evidence from other cities on how share e-bikes are used. Testing them here would highlight the local potential and allow more permanent arrangements to be tailored specifically for Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

“For those who enjoy the experience, and can afford it, share hire can also be a catalyst to buying an e-bike of their own.”

Mayor Whanau says she was proud when the city was recently awarded an A score for environmental action by global non-profit CDP

“But we must continue to build momentum to further reduce emissions. Share e-bikes will play their part in that, adds the Mayor.

Two adults putting on helmets to ride a Flamingo e-bike and e-scooter.

Auckland, Christchurch and Hamilton already have e-scooters and e-bikes available.

Experience in New Zealand and elsewhere shows that e-bikes are often used by people who don’t use e-scooters. They can be a more appealing option for longer trips, and relatively low complaint levels indicate most people use them in a responsible way.

Like e-scooters, they would be available from suburban locations in the morning so people could pick one up and come into the city. They would also be available outside the railway station so people who have commuted in by train or bus have more options about how they make the next leg of their journey.

In the central city, e-bike users would be encouraged and offered a discount to leave bikes in designated spots.

The committee meeting where this proposal will be considered will be screened live and recorded on our You Tube channel.