Co Bikes, the UK’s first electric on-street bike hire scheme, has announced it is returning to Exeter this month with just under new 100 bikes rolling out to 14 stations located around the city.

From 23 August, in order to test the new bikes, updated app and bike station infrastructure, the company will reopen its County Hall and Civic Centre stations with a limited number of bikes. Then, on 10th September, to coincide with the post-holiday return to work and ‘Cycle September’, Co Bikes will hold an official launch event and reopen its stations at Exeter St David’s, Exeter Central, Digby & Sowton and University of Exeter (Streatham and St Luke’s Campuses). At the event, they will also release details of the next round of stations to open.

Co Bikes are powered by nextbike, who operate shared bike schemes in 200 cities around the world.  Bikes can be hired using the nextbike app and will cost just £1 per 20 minutes or £24 for the day (8-24 hour hires) 1. To end a hire, bikes must be returned to any Co Bikes station. Anyone who downloads and registers to use the nextbike app between now and 30 September 2019 will be entered into a draw to win a year’s free cycling using Co Bikes. There will also be 10 runners up prizes of a month’s free cycling2.

Mark Hodgson, Managing Director of Co Bikes, commented: “Shared bike schemes are one of the best ways to navigate the urban landscape, helping reduce the numbers of cars on the road and the associated pollution and congestion.

“Our bikes have the added bonus of being electric so not only are they great fun, but you can also tackle even the toughest hills without breaking into a sweat. This makes them the ideal choice for commuters, travelling to meetings around the city or simply running everyday errands. I can’t wait to see our bikes back out around the city, especially as we’ll be announcing a number of new locations.”

The expansion of the Co Bikes scheme is in partnership with Devon County Council who has secured external funding from the Department for Transport’s National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) and developer contributions from new residential developments in Exeter. This contribution has helped to deliver new sites and improve the existing infrastructure at existing sites.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for cycling, said: “Following on from the recent news of Co Bikes and South Western Railway’s successful bid to bring e-bikes to rail stations in Cranbrook and Honiton, it’s fantastic to see this popular and innovative scheme returning to the city at large.

“As funding partner, Devon County Council is committed to giving people more sustainable travel choices, helping to reduce the dependence on cars to tackle congestion, reduce carbon emissions and improve the environment for all of us.”

Co Bikes, when it first launched in 2016 with just 20 bikes, was the very first on-street electric bike hire scheme in the country. Over two years, customers notched up an impressive 15,000 miles worth of trips – something the company is confident will be quickly exceeded by the expanded scheme.

Co Bikes is part of Co Cars, the car club for people, communities and businesses across Exeter and the South West. In Exeter, Co Cars currently has 26 cars available to hire from as little as half an hour. Together, the cars and bikes form an economical, equitable and sustainable network of shared transport options to help reduce the dependence on private car ownership.

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