A North East council has signed up to a pioneering eBike scheme to get its employees around town.
Gateshead Council is the latest institution to partner with expanding eBike firm Ride Electric as it looks to transform the way staff travel around the town and to work.
Ride Electric - which supplies state-of-the-art electric bikes to the business community from its base in North Shields - is calling on all councils in the North East to follow Gateshead's forward-thinking approach to sustainable and green employee transport.
General manager Craig Goff-Cooper said: “eBikes provide a whole new mode of transportation and we're delighted that Gateshead Council has embraced the technology we provide.
“Public transport isn't always reliable and parking is always a major problem for people. Driving short distances to work and to meetings every day can also be extremely uneconomical.
“We want to get people active to and from work and in and around the workplace, and we believe our eBikes provide the ultimate solution.
"We're confident more councils in the area will follow Gateshead Council's lead and provide eBikes for their employees.
“Every single person who has tested out our bikes on behalf of the council has come back with a smile on their face.
"It's great to see and we're confident that our new partnership will pave the way for a more active future for their staff members.”
As part of the new partnership, Gateshead Council employees can reserve eBikes for free using the authority's internal booking system, and can use them during work hours to get to meetings and site visits all over the town.
Ride Electric is taking council staff out for 'experience days', where they can get to grips with their new bikes and understand how they work.
“Gateshead is the perfect environment to test the capability of eBikes,” added Ride Electric managing director David Anderson.
“There are some big hills in this area, and it's been great to see employees tackle them with ease and understand that there are no limits to what they can do regardless of their age or level of fitness.
“We want to change the culture and the mindset of people here in the UK and we've been approaching councils directly to let them know that there is another way. We want to show them just what a massive difference eBikes can make to people's lives.”
John McElroy, Gateshead Council’s cabinet member for environment and transport said: “The provision of electric bikes is just one of the measures we have introduced as part of our sustainable travel plan to encourage employees to use alternative forms of transport when travelling during their working day.
“The electric bikes join our existing pool of pedal bikes and are great use for longer journeys, or for when Gateshead’s hills would make it difficult for most people to use a pedal bike.
"We’re keen for more employees to use them to help reduce the number of cars on our roads, improve employees' fitness and reduce mileage costs.”
Ride Electric says it is on course to turn over £1.5million in the next three years and plans a large-scale recruitment drive in the next 12 months.
For more information about Ride Electric visit www.rideelectric.co.uk