Starting an e-trike delivery service for town centre shops.
The lockdown is bringing new shopping models more quickly than expected.
The problem of Sidmouth’s traffic in town might be addressed by introducing a fleet of electric vehicles.
The following idea has been put forward by a member of the VGS:
One of the biggest problems we face with reducing number of cars in town is people coming in for shopping, the other is tourism. Deliveries for shops are a different strand. If we want to make the centre more pedestrianised then we have to understand that people want to be able to come into town, and then get their shopping home without having to either wrestle it onto a bus or stand waiting for a bus in bad weather. The same problems arise when you look at park and ride for tourists.
The way people are moving to online shopping might require shops to go back to the old way of having people come to the shops to make choices and then the shops delivering those items. The lockdown is bringing this model quicker than thought.
There is a lot of Government money around at the moment attempting to mitigate the effects of Covid-19, there are also a lot of people on furlough who are being paid 80% of their normal wage; this should make it easy for people to take the risk on new start-ups ( you can do other work whilst furloughed). If it fails they can go back to work as normal after lockdown finishes, if it works then we have new businesses.
We could start an e-trike delivery service for town centre shops to use. If we could persuade the shops that it was better for them to send out deliveries by the trike service than by their petrol vehicles we would get people used to seeing trikes around.
Trike services could then expand into Uber type taxis as well as deliveries, and tourist trips which would supplement the Hopper bus, or even eventually a constant stream of them to service a park and ride. It would be a pull for tourists too. A delivery trike service would also give employment for those who prefer to be out and about, support in becoming a self employed trike deliverer could be provided by STC or perhaps through organisations like the Chamber or the VGS.
Although these can be fair weather vehicles there are also totally enclosed 2 passenger vehicles available for bad weather use.
This lockdown may be our only opportunity: people are already looking for ways to move so we could capitalise on that. A delivery trike (even an enclosed one) is a lot cheaper than a deliver van. It is one way of inserting a tiny wedge to start making changes.
If we could get such a project started, it could end up with e-trikes being ‘taxis’ bringing both locals and visitors into town, dropping them off and then collecting them when they were done. Many people would use a taxi service with electric trikes for just local journeys if we could get it competitive with bus fares. Perhaps a local taxi firm might be interested?
There are several projects already out there:
There is funding available to local authorities for such projects. This opportunity, however, closed earlier in the year – the question being whether there are specific people at the District or County Councils whose job it is to keep a track of such initiatives and to share the information:
Applications deadline extended for eCargo Bike Grant Fund Local Authority Scheme |energysavingtrusts.org.uk
The Royal Mail conducted a trial, which will have ended by now, so there might be some useful information available; they have some protection from the elements and harness solar power too:
With an overview here
Meanwhile, in Exeter, Co Bikes have been operating very successfully:
We are Co Bikes, Exeter’s on-demand electric bike scheme.
Because our bikes are electrically assisted, they make cycling a breeze – even uphill!
Co Bikes also have a delivery adapted bike which would fit the bill:
Discover a new way to deliver
Welcome to Co Delivery, the new name for Escargo, Exeter’s electric cargo bike delivery service. We’re now part of the Co Cars and Co Bikes family and, together, we’re bringing sustainable shared mobility services to Exeter and the South West
And there might well be plans to secure some of their charging facilities and bikes in Sidmouth…
Finally, some videos:
Or, as the area is relatively new we might be able to commission a vehicle we want, if we allowed them the idea on license to produce them for other people.