Alternative transport is getting a boost at New Plymouth District Council with the purchase of more electric bikes.
The Council has had two retro-fitted bikes available for staff use at the Civic Centre for more than a year, but now they are being replaced with five purpose-built electric cycles.
The new bikes will be based at the Todd Energy Aquatic Centre, Puke Ariki and the Civic Centre.
“We encourage staff to use these bikes for work-related journeys around town, instead of taking a car,” says Manager Procurement Murray Keast.
“The two older bikes have been very popular, and with these new bikes more staff will have access to this alternative transport. The new ones are also lighter and easier to use.”
The electric bikes, and the two electric vehicles used by parks staff and visitors at Pukekura Park, are part of a wider push toward energy efficiency at the Council.
NPDC bought the eight-seater people-mover and the two-seater work vehicle for Pukekura Park about 18 months ago. On just the work vehicle, the Council has saved an estimated $2,000 on fuel and maintenance – a 35 per cent cost reduction.
Since buying the first electric bikes, staff have used them about 220 times covering about 1,100km at an average of 5km per trip. That has resulted in an estimated saving of 264kg of CO2.
The Council actively encourages staff to walk or cycle if their destination is less than 1km away. Sustainable Transport Coordinator Nathaniel Benefield says it’s part of NPDC’s efforts to ‘walk the talk’ on alternative transport solutions for large organisations.
“We’re working with schools and businesses on developing transport plans for their students and employees, and it’s important that we show how easy it is to leave the car behind – and for business, how economically worthwhile it can be,” he says.
“Going straight for a car for a short journey during work hours is a habit that we can be trained out of. When you have such an easy solution as an electric bike or an encouragement to walk, then a company can make a noticeable dent in its transport costs.”