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Monday 23 October 2017
23 October 2017 - NEWS UPDATE
Green Living

Leicester bids for programme to develop electrically assisted pedal cycle hubs

Leicester has submitted a bid for funding to support a major programme to develop Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle (EAPC) hubs.




Leicester City Council and Leicester-based sustainable travel specialist, Go Travel Solutions, have successfully progressed through the Expression of Interest stage.

A full application has now been submitted to apply for a share of the £500,000 funding that the Department for Transport has made available for cities, rural areas and tourism hotspots in England, outside of London, to develop shared Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle (EAPC) hubs.

The bid has been developed by Leicester City Council and is based on support provided by members of Smartgo Leicester, the business network co-ordinated by Go Travel Solutions.

It includes the support of major employers within the city, the University of Leicester, Leicester College, Highcross Leicester and major transport provider, East Midlands Trains. If the bid is successful, it would see EAPC hubs set up at these locations.

Employees from Leicester College, the University of Leicester and Leicester City Council would be able to pick up and use electric bikes to get around, while visitors to the city could pick up a bike from the train station or Highcross.

Electrically assisted pedal cycles encourage more people to cycle more often. One barrier to using them is their relatively high purchase cost. The shared EAPC programme is managed by Carplus – an organisation that supports sustainable travel. Carplus will be allocating the funding on behalf of the Department for Transport. The idea is to accelerate uptake of EAPCs through a grant scheme that will support the development of shared EAPC hubs.

Andrew Smith, director of planning, transportation and economic development at Leicester City Council, said: "If we are successful with the bid, Leicester will be able to demonstrate how electric bikes could be used to help business travel, travel to work and travel from the rail station.

"We've already completed a lot of work to make getting around our city easier by joining up pedestrian networks and cycle ways as part of our Connecting Leicester programme.

"Electric bikes represent another option for sustainable transport to help people get around the city, and it's an option this bid could help us to explore more thoroughly."

Robin Pointon, Managing Director of Go Travel Solutions added: "The benefits of electrically assisted pedal cycles are manifold but the purchase price has traditionally proven to be a real barrier to growth. A successful bid for the shared EAPC programme will help Leicester to speed up the adoption of electric bikes as a viable and effective mode of sustainable travel.

"Being invited to apply for this funding is a demonstration of the value of the Smartgo business network and the strengths of the strong public-private sector partnership in place," he added.

Shared EAPCs can help to deliver benefits including:

• Health – physical, mental

• Communities – sharing, social interaction

• Emissions – CO2 reduction, air quality improvements

• Space and place – reduced demand for parking, road space and car ownership through changing how people choose to travel

• Congestion – especially peak time traffic and public transport use

• Broader behaviour change: A missing component in door-to-door journeys, longer term shifts in personal travel and broader changes in attitudes (to health, environment, community etc)

• Financial benefits: Users saving money and shared EAPC use reducing pressure on other parts of the transport system

• Enhanced viability of complementary shared transport schemes such as car clubs.
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