More than 150 electric bikes were today made available for hire at docking stations across the region, giving even more people the opportunity to cycle. The eBikes, made here in the Midlands by renowned cycle manufacturer Pashley, are the latest addition to the West Midlands Cycle Hire (WMCH) scheme and available in eight town and city centres. Their arrival will allow riders to make longer journeys more easily and will offer extra help to those who may have difficulty pedalling a regular cycle or struggle with hills. And affordable hire costs give those put off by the expense of buying a new eBike the opportunity to give it a go. The roll-out follows the successful launch of the West Midlands Cycle Hire scheme earlier this year which has so far introduced 1,350 distinctive green and grey branded pedal bikes onto the region’s streets and seen more than 169,000 rides taken. The new eBikes have their own green and purple branding to make them easy to identify but will use the same docking stations. Like the WMCH pedal cycles, which are also made by Stratford-upon-Avon based Pashley, the new eBikes are available for hire in Birmingham, Coventry, Sandwell, Solihull, Stourbridge, Sutton Coldfield, Walsall and Wolverhampton. WMCH is operated by Serco under a five-year contract from Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). The bikes, docking stations and locking mechanisms are all manufactured in the region. It costs £1.50 to unlock an eBike and 10p per minute after that – or 5p per minute with a WMCH bundle deal which means a half-hour ride could cost as little as £3. The bikes are hired using the Beryl Cycle Hire app where the eBike locations are clearly marked.
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