The Big Issue launched its eBike scheme in Bristol last week, the start of a national rollout.
The programme, built by The Big Issue Group, in partnership with ShareBike, will see more than 400 of the eco-friendly Big Issue branded hire bikes available across the city. Plans are in place for many more bikes to follow.
The Big Issue eBikes scheme is the first of its kind and will recruit and retrain unemployed and vulnerable people in local communities and provide them with access to support and services to improve their lives. All employees will be paid a living wage.
The scheme is also designed to meet environmental needs and encourage healthy living in each location, by reducing congestion and encouraging people to cycle, rather than drive – as even the small changes people make towards living eco-friendly lives can make a difference.
Big Issue eBikes will directly benefit Bristol’s Clean Air plan by providing a genuine alternative to car use. This is important, as currently over 80 per cent of Bristol’s pollution has been shown to be from local traffic sources. The estimated benefit for Bristol with a scheme of around 500 bikes is a direct reduction of 1,900 car trips a day.
“We are incredibly excited,” said Paul Cheal, CEO of The Big Issue Group. “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. After 30 years of supporting vendors we are extending opportunities to a growing number of marginalised people in different ways. Also, there are a lot of hills in Bristol – eBikes help a lot with them.”