Newcastle became the first Australian city to get an electric bike sharing network today after rapid smart city advances saw the Federal Government select the city to lead the way.
This morning Transport for NSW and local start-up company Bykko rolled out 100 bikes for hire at 19 electric charging stations across the city in a first step in the city's grand transport transformation.
City Of Newcastle helped set up the electric bike network through location selection, construction and footing design for the charging stations, with 12 of them placed on Council land.
"The electric bike sharing project is designed to make it easier to move around the city and is another step towards the introduction of a multi-modal transport system for Newcastle," Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
"This initiative was kick started in 2016 by Council's place making grants program and now forms part of our Smart City Strategy. The roll out of e-bikes today is just the start of an expanded network council is delivering.
"Electric bikes improve transport options, the environment and community health. Council’s collaboration has provided technical advice, electrical connections and civil works to support this first stage.
"Under the Smart City Plan, smarter alternate modes of transport will help us move people efficiently and sustainably around our city."
Multi-modal transport systems are part of the Smart Move Newcastle project, for which Council and its partners received a $5million Australian Government grant late last year. Under it eight more solar- powered charging stations will be delivered to bring Newcastle into line with the cycling connectivity of European cities such as Antwerp, Copenhagen and Bordeaux.
Other Smart Move initiatives that will roll out in the near future include autonomous vehicle trials, a network of renewable energy powered docking stations for electric vehicles, and inroad sensors to provide data on parking availability via apps.
The new electric bike station locations include: corner of Glebe Rd and Watkins St The Junction, Bar Beach Pavilion, Station St, Wickham, Wickham Interchange, Birdwood Park in Newcastle West, Kuwami in Newcastle West, Marketown, Honeysuckle Hotel, the University of Newcastle NewSpace campus, Wheeler Place, Newcastle Library, Darby St near corner of King St, Headphones Park on Darby St, Nobbys Beach, Queens Wharf, Hunter St Mall, Telford St and Customs House.