Bicycle share venture nextbike is rolling out its first electric bikes in Wales.
In an investment, supported by the Welsh Government and Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan councils, an initial fleet of 50 e-bikes will be deployed next week at five stations in Penarth.
The company aims to increase its e-bike fleet to up to 200 across Penarth and Cardiff next year, with potential to rolled out in other locations such as Swansea and Newport.
Vale Council received numerous requests from the public to introduce its own scheme following the success of nextbike’s cycle hire scheme in Cardiff, which has clocked up more than 892,525 rentals since it launched in 2018.
The total number of standard bikes in Wales is currently 1,100, with 1,030 in Cardiff and 70 in Swansea.
The new E-bikes have top speeds of 25km per hour, and riders must be over 18 years old, follow all road traffic laws, but do not need to hold a driving licence.
E-bike rental will cost £1 per 30 minutes for customers with monthly or annual membership or £2 per 20 minutes on a pay as you ride basis.
NHS staff working at Llandough Hospital are being offered free memberships to the scheme.
The stations are located at the Esplanade, Llandough Hospital, Rindsor Road, Penarth Train Station and the Barrage.
Peter King, Vale of Glamorgan Council cabinet member for neighbourhood services and transport, said: “I’m delighted that we have become the first council in Wales to introduce public electric bikes.
“Having declared a climate emergency earlier this year, it is vital that as a Council we continue to support active and sustainable methods of transport. The bikes are simple to use and their modest tariffs compare favourably with the cost of travelling by car, bus or train.
“The initiative will benefit the health and wellbeing of our commuters and residents and should also be attractive to tourists. If this proves to be a success, we hope to see the scheme expand further.”
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Krysia Solheim, nextbike UK managing director, said she was excited to be launching the first public e-bikes to Wales.
“We’re delighted to be launching the fleet for the people of Penarth and beyond
“As the first of its kind in the country, these bikes are not only important to the people of Penarth, they’re also significant to leading the bike share revolution across the whole of Wales.
“We know that when properly implemented, bike share schemes bring major benefits, as can be seen from our fleets in Cardiff and Swansea. It’s an exciting time for Penarth, and it’s largely thanks to the forward-thinking of The Vale of Glamorgan Council.
“Our research has shown that a lot of commuters already cycle from Penarth into Cardiff and our ultimate ambition is to be able to eventually link the two schemes.”