What has happened to Derby's e-bikes?

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E-bikes are said to be an 'excellent' alternative to shorter car journeys

Derby’s new e-bikes appear to have vanished from the city centre - but council bosses have confirmed the scheme has not been scrapped.

In April, Derby City Counci said 150 vehicles were being made available to the public as part of the first phase of a new transport scheme being run by e-bike operator Lime.

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But recent tweets and emails forwarded to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) saw people asking where the e-bikes had gone.

The LDRS visited three designated parking bays in and around Derby city centre on Thursday afternoon to see no vehicles at all available for hire.

The parking bays which had no e-bikes were outside the council house In Corporation Street, at the Market Place outside the Nando’s restaurant and next to an industrial estate In Mansfield Road.

When our reporter tried to search for available bikes on the Lime app - as is the instruction for hiring one of the vehicles - the app said there were “no vehicles nearby”.

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The city council has confirmed in a statement that there is currently a “reduction in the number of available bikes”.

The authority said “many” of the initial fleet are currently being repaired.

The council has been asked why repairs are being carried out.

The scheme comes around four years after the original citywide e-bike scheme was scrapped after it was plagued by thefts and vandalism. 

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But officers reassured the public the council had learned lessons from last time and it would be an improved and more secure scheme.

Lime has also told the LDRS that the scheme has not been paused despite the problems.

The problems have been compounded by a technical issue with the vehicles, which the operator said it is “working to rectify”.

The operator is said to have told the council that the figures for usage when the scheme was first launched were “excellent”.

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The full statement by the council said: “Earlier this year, Lime launched the first phase of their Gen4 e-bikes into Derby. The council has recently been made aware of a reduction in the number of available bikes, as many of the initial fleet are in the workshop for repair.

“The council has also been made aware of an issue affecting their Gen4 e-bikes. This is affecting e-bikes in all cities that Lime is operating in and is not limited to Derby.

“Lime, which owns all of the bikes and manage the scheme, are working to rectify the issue as soon as possible and will be testing a physical fix in Derby over the coming weeks. Lime has reported to the council that even with the issues related to maintaining the bikes, Derby’s early usage figures are excellent, outperforming those of other UK cities where the same e-bikes have been launched and demonstrating that there is a clear appetite for e-bikes within the city.

“E-bikes are an excellent alternative to shorter car journeys, providing citizens with a clean, convenient and cheaper transport option. We will continue to work with Lime, the police and other partners to enable citizens to access and use e-bikes safely, respectfully and legally.”

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