The Big Issue is to launch a dockless e-bike hire scheme. The joint venture with Norwegian firm, ShareBike, will be rolled out across the UK from next year.
The project has arisen from The Big Issue’s Ride Out Recession Alliance – a bid to prevent a wave of poverty resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Big Issue-branded e-bikes will initially be available to rent in Cambridge – the home city of Big Issue founder Lord John Bird – with the proceeds going towards helping previously unemployed people back into work.
The project will also involve the recruitment and retraining of people who were previously unemployed to run the schemes. They will be paid a living wage and given support to improve their lives.
Lord Bird, said: “We are living through some dark times, with predictions that hundreds of thousands of people could lose their jobs and be made homeless.
“It’s been wonderful to come together with a like-minded organisation with a truly innovative venture that offers hope to those facing great adversity due to Covid-related poverty.
“So by renting an e-bike from The Big Issue, not only are you doing good for the environment but you are doing good for others too. You are biking for good.”
Jan Tore Endresen, chief executive of ShareBike, added: “In our partnership with The Big Issue, ShareBike sees a unique opportunity to help people whilst providing sustainable mobility.
“With more than 20 years’ experience in global bike sharing we have ensured that Big Issue e-bikes offer a comfortable and convenient alternative to fossil fuel-based transportation, as well as providing an affordable mode of travelling around cities in the UK.”
Those interested in the scheme – councils, businesses and individuals – can register their interest on the bigissue.bike website.
Everyone who signs up gets their first month free of charge.
The area with most sign-ups by the New Year will become the top priority for the launch. The aim is to launch two schemes in the first quarter of 2021 with a long-term aim to make the bikes available nationwide.