A new shared e-bike scheme in the UK will recruit and train unemployed and vulnerable people, paying them a living wage.
The initiative from The Big Issue Group, in partnership with micromobility company ShareBike, has been launched in Bristol with plans to expand it nationally.
“After 30 years of supporting vendors we are extending opportunities to a growing number of marginalised people in different ways,” said Paul Cheal, CEO of The Big Issue Group, the social enterprise that also runs The Big Issue magazine sold by homeless and vulnerably housed people in the UK.
“We have worked in collaboration with Charities Aid Foundation, Bristol & Bath Regional Capital, Bristol City Council and many local community groups in Bristol on the launch of the first The Big Issue eBikes scheme.”
The scheme is also designed to support goals encouraging people to cycle rather than drive. The estimated benefit for Bristol with a deployment of around 500 bikes is a direct reduction of 1,900 car trips a day, according to the organisers.
The bikes can be hired via the Big Issue eBike App with a monthly subscription or on a pay-as-you-go basis.
The scheme was launched with a £450,000 (US$612,182) investment from City Funds, a Bristol-based impact investment fund run by Bristol & Bath Regional Capital (BBRC).
“It will be innovations like Big Issue eBikes that will be key to ensuring a just transition, here in Bristol and UK-wide,” said Jari Moate, Investment Manager, Bristol & Bath Regional Capital.
“Not only are there clear environmental benefits to this micromobility solution, Big Issue and ShareBike have ensured local social and financial value too. It’s the vital triple-bottom-line approach that’s necessary if we’re going to create a sustainable and inclusive future, and we’re very pleased to be helping bring this scheme to Bristol first.”
Aberdeen is the next planned city for The Big Issue eBikes.
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