Guildford could be getting 150 e-bikes as town-wide £830,000 sharing scheme moves step closer

An electric bike share scheme for Guildford has moved a step closer after councillors met last month to help move the £830,000 project forward.

The 150 bike scheme has been in the pipeline since December 2017 and now, following the completion of a feasibility study looking into aspects such as commercial viability, Guildford Borough Council’s executive is to present a report endorsing the project by the spring.

Almost £74,000 has been spent on the project so far of a total projected cost of £830,000. Once the scheme is commissioned it is expected to be ready to use in six months.The bike sharing scheme will create 25 docking stations and 150 bikes, across the town centre and West Guildford including near the Royal Surrey County Hospital and in the Park Barn area.

The University of Surrey already has its own bike share scheme, consisting of 50 bikes and 10 hubs, for students and staff across its two campuses, after being awarded second place and £75,000 in a Santander competition.

However, the council wants to include the university in its plans, and the executive advisory board recommends the executive “approach the university with a view to seeking a financial contribution towards the public bike share scheme.”

Members of Guildford Borough Council, University of Surrey and Santander at the launch of the university’s bike share scheme in 2018. (Image: Surrey Advertiser)

All the e-bikes will have a GPS tracking system built in so the operator knows their location, and so fines can be issued for cyclists venturing out of the designated zones.

The bikes will be fitted with an “electric assist” mechanism which will help riders reach speeds of 15mph before the motor cuts out and will be introduced to Guildford in two phases, providing the first phase is successful.

Although no concrete plans have been laid with regards to venues of the docking hubs, Guildford Spectrum and Onslow Park and Ride are two sites touted as possibilities.In areas that are expected to be particularly popular, such as Guildford railway station, it is possible that two docking hubs may be located close together.

A device on one of the public bike share scheme’s bikes in Derby. (Image: Derby Telegraph)

Guildford Borough Council may conduct a bidding process for the rights to operate the system, and an option enabling the bike scheme to be extended to other more locations in the borough will be considered during the procurement process.

Once installed, the private firm operating the bike scheme will be responsible for matters such as maintenance and bike redistribution.

Despite all the positive health benefits greater cycling provision will bring, the council’s report acknowledged that vandalism and theft have been problems in other towns already with public bikes, while some councillors suggested the “topography and nature of the town and population profile” might hinder the scheme’s success.

Guildford Borough Council also noted that the National Trust has already expressed worries regarding additional maintenance that will be necessary on the River Wey towpath, as bike share will likely lead to significantly more usage.

Special Thanks to Get Surrey for their Article-

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