Two busy Devon railway stations, Cranbrook and Honiton, are to benefit from the installation of Co Bikes electric bike stations, allowing for seamless – and zero carbon – onward commuting options.
The investment by South Western Railway is due to them successfully securing over £1 million in grants from government, local authorities and third-party funding sources to improve cycle-rail connectivity across their network.
In Devon, match funding is through a partnership between Devon County Council and East Devon District Council, alongside the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone and Lidl. Cranbrook will see a 20 e-bike station installed and Honiton will benefit from a 10 e-bike station. Bikes can be rented from the station using the nextbike app and will cost just £1 per 20 minutes*. To end the hire, they can either be returned to the same station or any other station in the Co Bikes network.
Andrew Ardley, Regional Development Manager for South Western Railway, commented: “We’re very pleased to secure this investment on behalf of our stakeholders. Onward travel from stations to local employment sites and other key destinations is an essential part of the total product that the railway offers – it doesn’t just start and end at the station. Our customers are already benefitting from this network at Exeter St David’s and Central – the addition of Cranbrook and Honiton will significantly expand our offer in East Devon, enabling customers to access major employers such as Lidl’s distribution centre and East Devon District Council’s new offices. We look forward to working with Co-bikes and Devon County Council on a further site at Pinhoe station. The e-bikes are a major step forward in comfort and ease of use.”
Mark Hodgson, Managing Director of Co Cars and Co Bikes, added: “I am absolutely delighted to add two such important locations to the Co Bikes network, giving both residents and commuters a sustainable first/last mile commuting option from these two busy train stations.”
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for cycling, said: “It's encouraging to see the Co Bikes network expanding across the county, giving people more travel choices and helping tackle congestion and carbon dioxide emissions in Devon. These electric bike stations are proving popular and we're pleased that Devon County Council is among the partners who have helped play a part in rolling out this initiative to more of our railway stations.”
Councillor Geoff Jung (Environment Portfolio Holder for East Devon District Council) said: “Extending the Co Bike availability to East Devon is wonderful news. It is great to see Southern Railways working together with their council partners to obtain the government funding to provide these electric bike points. Providing this eco-friendly option for train travellers arriving at our stations makes perfect sense and ties in with East Devon’s District Council’s future plans.”
Lidl's Regional Director, Mark Henry, said: “We're proud to have helped Co Bikes bring this sustainable scheme to two more major train stations in East Devon. The bikes will provide our employees with an eco-friendly option of getting to and from our distribution centre, and I look forward to seeing the initiative extend to other stations across the region over the next few years.”
The full list of 11 stations that will receive funding are Basingstoke, Bournemouth, Cranbrook, Dorchester South, Gillingham, Honiton, Parkstone, Salisbury, Wareham, Weymouth and Winchester.
*Plus £10 deposit when registering which is redeemable against trips. Day rate of £24 applies for trips between 8 and 24 hours.