Pictured L to R: MP Drew Hendry; Cllr Trish Robertson; Vikki Trelfer, HITRANS active travel officer.
Inverness is gearing up for the launch of HI-BIKE, the new electric bike share scheme being introduced in the city.
The first phase of the scheme will see 30 electric bikes being made available for hire in the city, with three docking stations located at:-
The Railway Station (near its entrance to Falcon Square)
The Lochan, Inverness Campus, Beechwood
Great Glen House, Leachkin.
Promoting the scheme is HITRANS, the regional transport partnership for the Highlands and Islands, which is working in partnership with The Highland Council to expand the scheme over the next 12 months to bring additional bikes and docking stations to the city, giving a wider geographic spread and providing access to the bikes from more residential areas.
HI-BIKE offers a range of membership options, from pay per ride to monthly or yearly membership.
Shorter membership options include 30 minutes free riding before extra time fees kick in, and monthly and yearly membership gives 45 minutes free each ride.
To use the service, users can simply purchase a membership online or using the Hi-Bike mobile app.
HITRANS Partnership Chair, Highland Councillor Allan Henderson, said:
“HI-BIKE gives residents and visitors more options for making shorter journeys within the city by bike, helping to reduce carbon emissions and pollution, and improving health and wellbeing.”
Special guest at the launch was keen cyclist and active travel supporter Drew Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey.
“This is an eagerly-awaited project that will give people the opportunity to travel around the city in a different way, enjoy the benefits of active travel and play their part in protecting our environment.
“I’m looking forward to the roll out of the scheme across Inverness, confirming its position as a major cycling city, and to other communities in the Highlands.”
Councillor Trish Robertson, Chair of The Highland Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee, said:
“I am sure the bikes will prove to be popular with people who live and work around the city as well as the many visitors who are looking to be active as they explore.
“The bikes provide more options as you can cover so much more ground on two wheels than walking.
“For example, a great cycle will be from the city centre, along the River Ness to the new Torvean Park which has a purpose built 5km route as well as easy access to the canal towpaths.
“This new leisure area of the city, with enhanced sports facilities is accessible and provides cycling on traffic free routes to help promote healthy lifestyles.”
Donald Hall, Travel and Transport Manager – Inverness Campus, said:
“The HI-BIKE scheme is a significant development for the city that will play an important part in enabling active travel to and from Inverness Campus.
“It will help to interlink different modes of transport bringing a range of benefits to people, organisations and the environment.”
The first phase of the pilot was made possible with funding from Transport Scotland and the EU project Stronger Combined, and support from Smarter Choices Smarter Places.
The initial three sites are easily accessed from The Highland Council’s Inverness City Active Travel Network currently in development, which includes Millburn Road corridor, Raigmore Interchange and the Riverside Way.
HI-BIKE is operated by Bewegen, a Canadian company which also runs Forth Bike, Scotland’s largest electric bike scheme linking Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.
Marie-Hélène Houle, Communications & Marketing Director at Bewegen Technologies Inc. said:
“Bewegen is proud to be part of the solution in micro-mobility for Inverness.
“Our bikes are made to make short or longer trips to help residents and visitors to get around the city by cycling in an easy, fun and comfortable way.
“We are proud to be part of this journey and look forward to the success of HI-BIKE.”
Suvi Loponen, Bewegen’s UK community outreach and business development officer, said:
“It’s great to see our bikes roll out at a new destination in Scotland. Inverness is the gateway to the Highlands, and there’s so much to see in the city and its surroundings – and on an e-bike, it’s so easy!
“Hi-Bike will be a great way for everyone to explore and travel in the area in a sustainable way.”