freebike, the smart, dockless electric bike sharing company has been selected by the City of London Corporation to operate electric bike sharing services within the Square Mile.
This will be the first public fleet of freebikes in the UK for the British company founded in 2009 and operating e-bike sharing systems elsewhere in Europe to reduce car dependency since its inception.
freebikes will arrive in the City of London from the 12th June and can be rented as both a pedal or as an electric bike with no unlock fee. The pedelecs can be unlocked via the freebike app or contactless card. Pedal mode can be used for free for the first 10 minutes, while using the freebike in electric mode will cost £1 for 10 minutes, with a “smart pause” mode allowing the user to park the bike temporarily before recommencing their journey.
The City Corporation say they are “taking a lead in looking for dockless operation that can provide a reliable service without discarded bikes littering pavements.”
freebike say their high service levels and e-bikes equipped with GPS – which will alert the company when bikes are left outside designated parking areas, in combination with sensors notifying the company if a bike has fallen over – offers a solution that is “radical in both technology and approach”. Such status alerts enables irresponsibly parked bikes to be quickly located and moved.
Alastair Moss, Planning and Transportation Committee Chair at the City of London Corporation, said: “This trial follows the launch of the City Corporation’s first Transport Strategy, in which we have placed a renewed focus on prioritising the needs of cyclists and improving the quality, convenience and accessibility of cycle hire facilities for City visitors, workers and residents to enjoy.”
Katharine Butler, co-founder of freebike, added: “We’re delighted to launch our first public freebike fleet in the UK and proud to be selected by the City of London Corporation to operate electric bike sharing in the City following a highly competitive bid. The electric freebike brings radical innovation in technology and approach and offers the public a fun, green, fast and healthy transport option around the City. We are passionate about getting more people cycling and out of their cars – electric bikes are a joy to ride.’’
Lance Uggla, CEO of IHS Markit who have a private scheme at their London HQ, stated: “Our team have been using freebikes to get to meetings in London for the past eight months. They’re reliable, fun to use, save us a lot of time, but best of all they reduce our impact on the environment.”