Press Release

The Big Issue launches first Big Issue eBikes scheme to boost green employment opportunities across the UK

The Big Issue Group, in partnership with ShareBike, has launched a national eBikes scheme, with Bristol being the first city to see bikes on the ground.

One of the first Big Issue ebikes, by the canal in Bristol

One of the first Big Issue ebikes, by the canal in Bristol. Image Credit: Big Issue eBikes

  • eBikes hit the ground in Bristol, the first city to launch the scheme
  • The scheme is the first of its kind and will recruit and retrain unemployed and vulnerable people in local communities
  • The scheme is in partnership with Norwegian micromobility company, ShareBike

Today (Tuesday, 1st February), The Big Issue Group, in partnership with ShareBike, has launched a national eBikes scheme, with Bristol being the first city to see bikes on the ground.

The eco-friendly eBikes will be launched in Bristol first, with a wider-UK rollout to follow, the scheme will boost green employment opportunities and transport options in smaller cities and towns across the UK.

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 also 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.

The scheme will be launched with a £450,000 investment from City Funds, a Bristol-based impact investment fund run by Bristol & Bath Regional Capital (BBRC).

The Big Issue already has a strong presence in Bristol helping the most vulnerable get back on to their feet and supporting them into income generation. The organisation helps an average of 30 Bristol-based vendors sell nearly 1,500 copies each week. Big Issue Invest has also invested in local business and the wider Bristol community. The organisation supported Campus Skate Park with £35,000 and Working Knowledge with £80,000 – both of which were created to help young people thrive.

Paul Cheal, CEO of The Big Issue Group, said: “We are incredibly excited to have worked in collaboration with Charities Aid Foundation, BBRC, Bristol City Council and many local community groups in Bristol on the launch of the first The Big Issue eBikes scheme. Renting an eBike from The Big Issue is not only good for the environment, but it also creates opportunities for marginalised people. You are biking for good.”

Jan Tore Endresen, CEO of ShareBike, said: “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 eBikes 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.”

Jari Moate, Investment Manager at BBRC, said: “It will be innovations like Big Issue eBikes that will be key to ensuring a just transition, here in Bristol and UK-wide. Not only are there clear environmental benefits to this micro-mobility 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.”

The Big Issue and ShareBike are calling local businesses to take up the scheme in order to provide ethical and sustainable ways for people to travel and support unemployed or vulnerable people back into skilled work.

Businesses interested in the scheme can visit www.bigissue.bike to find out how they can set up an eBike scheme in their local community.

If you are a cyclist, to register or to hear more about when The Big Issue eBikes scheme may be coming to a community near you, visit www.bigissue.bike. The bikes can be hired via the Big Issue eBike App. The locations of the bikes can be found in the app.

The monthly subscription is £19.95/month. This is for unlimited rides up to 10 minutes per ride and then charged at 20p per minute to a maximum of £12 a day. The subscription can be cancelled at any time without penalty.

There is also a pay-as-you-go option which only requires a £10 deposit and 50p to get started and then is charged at 20p per minute up to a maximum of £12 for the day.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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