Auckland Council added 9 electric bicycles to its fleet of company vehicles. The e-bikes have proven to be a popular option for staff from across the organisation.
In July 2016, Auckland Council first introduced 9 electric bikes into their central area offices as a trial.
The e-bikes fitted in with the organisation’s travel plan, which includes a commitment to providing the means and motivation to change travel modes and reduce the number of employees driving to work and between offices.
Council already had 12 road bikes for staff use but fleet transport users had indicated they would use e-bikes if they were available.
“E-bikes are a cost-effective transport option for staff needing to travel longer distances than they might on a road bike versus booking a car,” says Duncan Munro, council's Energy and Sustainability Specialist.
“You can wear your normal clothes, utilise the cycle lanes, dial up or down depending on your level of moto-assist, and get places faster than you might on a manual bike or in a car.”
The e-bikes (eZee Kinetic) were first trialled by the organisation's sustainability champions and the Bicycle Users Group (BUG), and staff experimented with length of journeys, even riding them from the CBD to offices in Henderson.
The bikes are equipped with larger batteries for making longer journeys, along with pannier bags for carrying all the necessary work gear. End-of-trip facilities are located at various offices, including bike parks, charging stations, showers, and lockers.
Image: Council staff with their e-bikes on the pink Lightpath Te Ara I Whiti.
Popular staff choice
The e-bikes are now available for use by all staff (once they pass a rider assessment to make sure they know how to use them safely) and have proved so popular that the fleet of 9 bikes is stretched to capacity.
The bikes are especially popular with staff visiting inner-city customers, including teams from environmental health, resource consents, pollution response, compliance, and monitoring.
Monitoring Inspector, Laura Scaife uses an electric bike to undertake monitoring inspections around central Auckland.
“Electric bikes are a great way to quickly get to a site visit. I don’t have to worry about parking and can carry all the gear I need in the pannier bags.”
Laura says that using the electric bikes has also improved her overall enjoyment of her job: “I love the feeling of being able to cycle to site or a meeting within central Auckland. Even when it is raining, I simply put on wet weather gear and head to site on an electric bike.”
The bikes will shortly be added to the council’s fleet-travel booking system, alongside road bikes and vehicles. Travel surveys will track the use of the bikes over time and the council hopes this data will provide positive support to increase the available fleet.
The council’s offices at Albert Street and Bledisloe House already have cycle parking and the increase in the number of staff riding to work means additional cycle parking will need to be made available at the Graham Street, Orewa, and Henderson offices.
The council has also installed new charging points at Bledisloe House to meet the growing number of staff using their own e-bikes to commute to work. They also plan to have charging points at Albert Street and Graham Street.
About Auckland Council
Auckland Council is New Zealand’s largest local authority, reporting to 1.5 million customers from Wellsford in the north to Franklin in the south. The council employs 9,500 people across 83 different businesses including 5 council-controlled authorities. Around 3,500 Auckland Council staff work in the CBD.
Council has a social bicycle users group that meets monthly to discuss cycling, initiatives, and share ideas. The group works to encourage staff activities including lunchtime rides and social rides.
In 2016, Auckland Council won the Auckland Bike Challenge award for introducing the most new riders to cycling. 59 new riders signed up taking the total number of registrations to 234. During the challenge, Council promoted a healthy inter-department rivalry to encourage new riders to give cycling a go.