An Auckland company says electric bikes are the ideal solution to the traffic gridlock plaguing the city.
Big Street Bikers aims to have 10,000 electric bikes on the streets by 2020. The firm's plan is to offer annual leases to companies around Auckland for their branded bikes, promising fleet management software, regular servicing, on-call courtesy bikes and safety training.
"Companies can be doing a lot more to help solve our transport problem. With car parks in the central city costing up to $60 a day, a $30/week bike subsidy for staff is a no-brainer," Big Street Bikers director Matt Weavers said.
"They're cheaper than the bus, faster than the traffic and most importantly much better for your booty," he said.
The company claims to already be in talks with some of New Zealand's largest employers.
Greater Auckland deputy chairman Patrick Reynolds agreed with the concept, "E-bikes, not e-cars or driverless cars, are the truly transformational urban transport technology of our age because they have the power to radically change the shape, performance, and economies of cities everywhere."
The company announcement comes after a report from the NZ Institute of Economic Research which showed traffic congestion in the city is costing the local economy up to twice as much as previously estimated.
The report - Benefits from Auckland road decongestion - found benefits of decongestion to the current network capacity in Auckland at $0.9 billion to $1.3 billion (1 per cent to 1.4 per cent of Auckland's GDP).
But if the average speed across the Auckland network was close or equal to the speed limit, which is also known as free-flow, then the estimated benefits of decongestion during weekdays was between $1.4 and $1.9 billion (between 1.5 per cent and 2 per cent of Auckland's GDP).
The range of estimates reflects different assumptions about how an easier commute
would affect Auckland's labour supply.
Big Street Bikers, based in Eden Terrace, plan to launch a consumer subscription in September.