The UK council secured funding from the Department for Transport to purchase 21 e-cargo bikes last year and 12 of them are being made available for lease to local businesses.
Milton Keynes (MK) Council in the UK has leased its first fully electric e-cargo bike to a female entrepreneur who launched an online marketplace for local businesses in Olney, a town in the borough, during the pandemic.
In a separate announcement, the council has launched a smartphone app to help local people and visitors make quick, clean and green transport choices in Milton Keynes.
MK Council secured funding from the Department for Transport to purchase 21 e-cargo bikes last year. Since then, council tree inspectors and landscape officers have been using some of the bikes in their day-to-day duties. Twelve are being made available for lease to local businesses, reducing the use of harmful vans and cars and cutting the business’ impact on the environment.
The three remaining e-cargo bikes were donated to a local food redistribution charity in December.
Helen Knight launched RySync Deliveries during the pandemic as more people recognised the importance of shopping locally. It is an online market place of local shops, traders and businesses that also provides a door-to-door delivery service, which will now largely be able to be completed using the council’s leased e-cargo bike.
“Milton Keynes is a world-leader in green technology and MK Council has set out its ambitions for MK to become zero-carbon by 2030,” said councillor Jenny Wilson-Marklew, cabinet member for climate action and sustainability. “Projects and initiatives like this, along with the enthusiastic support of local businesses, will all help us on that journey to a cleaner, greener city.”
Knight said she is grateful to the council for providing her with the opportunity to use the e-cargo bikes for local delivery. “My business is committed to reducing the environmental impact of shopping habits and make it easier for people in the Olney area to shop locally using carbon-free deliveries.”
The first phase of the Get Around MK transport app is live and available to download to smartphones for free on the Google Play and Apple App Store.
The launch comes after the council recently published its Get Around MK website and is part of a wider £500,000 investment in sustainable transport following the huge uptake in cycling, walking and scooting during the Covid-19 pandemic. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for local people to find a greener transport option that’s right for them.
“Projects and initiatives like this, along with the enthusiastic support of local businesses, will all help us on that journey to a cleaner, greener city”
Both platforms host a range of interactive features, including a live map of roads and redways (shared-use routes for people walking, wheeling, cycling and scooting, including powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters), nearest bus stop locator and details of bike hire locations, electric vehicle car charging points and more.
Cycling and walking levels in some areas of MK were 58 per cent higher in May 2020 compared to May 2019, and the council wants to maintain the momentum created in sustainable travel beyond the pandemic.
The Get Around MK app has been developed in partnership with transport management and smart ticketing software developer Unicard.