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Fort William is a step closer to getting its ebike hire scheme on the road after being awarded a massive £537,000 grant.
The cash, which covers 80 per cent of the total costs, will pay for 80 ebikes, 10 charging hubs and virtual docking stations at key locations throughout the wider Fort William area including the high street, transport centre and suburbs.
Following the announcement by Transport Scotland last week, Lochaber Environmental Group (LEG) confirmed it was awarded the funding in April.
LEG’s ebike hire scheme is one of 10 active travel and low carbon transport projects that will receive a share of £9.46 million through round three of the Scottish Government Low Carbon Travel and Transport Challenge Fund. The European Regional Development Fund provided £7.21m of the overall total.
Kate Willis from LEG said the opportunity to deliver an ebike scheme of this size was
‘incredibly exciting’ as it has the potential to make a real difference to the way people travel locally.
‘The scheme will provide easy and affordable access to ebikes for everyone. We
hope this will encourage people to use the bikes, rather than their cars, for daily
journeys,’ she told the Lochaber Times.
‘This will help ease traffic congestion, especially in the summer, as well as
reduce carbon emissions. Electric bikes are such a great way to get around. They are fun to ride, hills are a breeze and they provide that extra boost if you are recovering from injury or illness.’
Transport secretary Michael Matheson commented: ‘These exciting projects will join other low carbon and active travel initiatives that have been very much welcomed by communities through the Challenge Fund.
‘These projects will support our Programme for Government commitment to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032, whilst helping us to build an active nation and make it easier for people to walk, wheel and cycle for everyday journeys.’
LEG now just needs to secure the remaining 20 per cent match funding (£135,000) and the scheme will become a reality.
The funding will also pay for ebike infrastructure, including the development of a mobile app that will allow users to unlock bikes and monitor their rides, and a project manager and community engagement officer to deliver the project, which will include running community and business engagement events.
Kate Willis, of LEG, tries out one of the two ebikes that were loaned for a trial last year.
NO F38 Kate forth bike
The Fort William ebike scheme will be similar to the Forth Bikes project, seen here.
NO F38 forth bikes docking