More than 50 Tauranga City Council staff are proud owners of electric bikes after the council facilitated a deal with a national e-bike distributor to encourage fewer single-occupant cars into the city centre.
The council negotiated the purchase deal on behalf of 52 staff as part of a bulk order, along with seven e-bikes that will be added to the organisation's vehicle fleet.
The initiative was facilitated by the Tauranga City Council to make it easier for staff to get to work without bringing single-occupant cars into the city each day.
Transportation manager Martin Parkes said most of the staff who bought the e-bikes usually drove to work but were planning to leave their cars at home and ride whenever practical.
Parkes said the council already had a strong biking culture.
"Between 40–60 staff ride to work regularly, e-bikes open up the possibility of biking to even more people," he said.
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"At the beginning we thought 10 to 15 staff might take up the offer, and we got 52, most of those relatively new to biking," Parkes said.
"It has been a thrill to see so many people get genuinely enthusiastic about making a change to the way they travel. It's a win-win for staff, for the council's fleet and for the city."
Parkes said council was a large organisation that needed to lead the way in people's individual travel habits.
"Every person on a bike, e-bike, or bus represents a tangible savings in car parks and it helps relieve the traffic flow," he said.
Founder the of supplier of the bikes electrify.nz, Michael Tritt said every e-bike took someone out of a car for some part of their life - for commuting, leisure or general transport.
"Tauranga City Council recognised this fact and the obvious benefits for staff, the council and the community," Tritt said.
"Their leadership in showing how a large employer can improve the transport mix of our cities is awesome."