Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, together with European e-bike specialists, VOI had gradually introduced 129 e-bikes for public hire across the city from January 2021. However over the last few months, multiple instances of vandalism have been reported to the police, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to the fleet.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is investigating the crimes and is encouraging anyone with information to come forward. In the meantime, the e-bikes have been temporarily removed from the streets of Peterborough as a precautionary measure to prevent further damage to the fleet.
A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, said: “The decision by VOI to temporarily pause the e-bike scheme in Peterborough is disappointing but understandable. There have been multiple reports of vandalism to the city’s stock of e-bikes over the last few months, which are currently being looked into by the police.
“The e-bike scheme in the city has been extremely well received. We have had 129 e-bikes across the city for hire and since January riders have replaced nearly 4,000 short car journeys, cycling almost 35,000 km. That’s prevented harmful air pollution and saved nearly three tonnes of CO2 that would have been emitted had the journeys been made by car.”
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“We’re working with VOi to find a solution to this current challenge, and remain committed to providing active travel solutions, like e-bikes, for Peterborough residents to use.”
Councillor Nigel Simons, cabinet member for the environment at Peterborough City Council, said: “For the time being, the e-bikes have been removed from our streets and users of the app will not be able to book online.
“The good news is that the pause will be temporary, but it is especially disappointing that the actions of a few can have such a big impact on others. We would encourage anyone with information about the vandalism to contact the police.”
Nathan Ashley, senior public policy manager UK, Ireland & Benelux at VOI, said: “To protect the safety of our staff, riders and e-bikes we have temporarily suspended our service in Peterborough following persistent acts of vandalism.
“We’re incredibly disappointed that the actions of a few are tarnishing the overwhelmingly positive experience that many people have using our service, especially with COP26 around the corner highlighting the importance of how can we can all contribute to tackling climate change.
“We urge anyone with information to please contact the Police or Crimestoppers anonymously. We do not tolerate criminality and are working closely with the police, and other local stakeholders, to ensure we can reintroduce this flexible and environmentally-friendly way to travel as soon as possible.”
Anyone with information on vandalism to the e-bikes should contact the police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.