Newcastle launches e-bike sharing

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Newcastle, already on the way to becoming a smart city, has become the first Australian city to have an electric bike hire network.

Transport for NSW and local Newcastle firm Bykko have rolled out 100 e-bikes and set up 19 charging stations across the city.

The move is a first step in the city’s transport transformation plan, which has received federal government backing.

Newcastle City Council helped establish the network through selection of charging station locations — 12 of them on council land — and construction and footing design.

“The electric bike sharing project is designed to make it easier to move around the city and is another step towards the introduction of a multimodal transport system for Newcastle,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“This initiative was kick-started in 2016 by council’s place making grants program and now forms part of our Smart City Strategy. The rollout of e-bikes today is just the start of an expanded network council is delivering.

“Electric bikes improve transport options, the environment and community health. Council’s collaboration has provided technical advice, electrical connections and civil works to support this first stage.

“Under the Smart City Plan, smarter alternate modes of transport will help us move people efficiently and sustainably around our city.”

Multimodal transport systems are part of the council’s Smart Move Newcastle project, which last year attracted a $5 million federal government grant.

Eight more solar-powered charging stations will soon be installed.

Other initiatives for the near future include autonomous vehicle trials, renewable energy powered docking stations for electric vehicles and inroad sensors to provide data on parking availability via apps.

Pictured: Some of the e-bike sharing and charging stations in Newcastle. Courtesy Newcastle City Council.

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