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Make way for the e-bike: council to axe CityCycle scheme

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Brisbane City Council will end its troubled and expensive CityCycle scheme and will instead embrace e-bikes and e-scooters as a way to encourage residents and visitors onto active transport.

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Council public transport chair Ryan Murphy sounded the death-knell on the decade-old CityCycle today, saying it would be phased out over the next 12 months.

The council will soon call tenders for the supply of 2000 e-bikes to replace CityCycle’s pedal bikes next year, admitting that the old scheme was not popular with Brisbane residents.

“Brisbane has embraced the CityCycle scheme over the past 10 years, but with ridership declining since November 2018, a decision needed to be made over the scheme’s future,” Murphy said.

He said the introduction of e-scooters for hire onto Brisbane streets two years ago saw CityCycle use plummet.

“The reality is that CityCycle is not as popular as it used to be, and COVID-19 has seen numbers reduced further. Today there are five trips being taken on an e-scooter for every trip on a CityCycle.

“Residents have voted with their feet and are opting for more modern transport options, like e-scooters and it’s up to Council to continue to innovate to meet the needs of today, not 10 years ago.”

“We’re a hot, humid, sub-tropical city so when it comes to traveling that last mile from transport hub to home, e-wheeling can make it so much more comfortable.

The CityCycle scheme cost about $16.5 million over the past decade but Murphy said the new scheme would cost ratepayers nothing. It will be operated along competitive lines much like the current e-scooter scheme.

The move means French advertising company JCDecaux is set to tighten its grip on ads adorning council buses, bus stops and the like in a deal which would extend the company’s contract with the council until 2031.

The company signed a controversial 20-year deal with the Campbell Newman-led council 10 years ago for all advertising on buses and street furniture in return for installing and maintaining CityCycle bikes.

JCDecaux has promised a recycling scheme for existing CityCycle infrastructure such as stations, racks and bikes.

There will be an overlap between the disappearance of CityCycle and the introducton of e-bikes next year, with CityCycle to be free from January.

The council also plans to offer some CityCycle bikes and helmets to residents to keep.

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