The Big Issue launches new e-bike scheme to reduce unemployment

The Big Issue is hoping to solve employment and environment problems with its launch of a new e-bike scheme. Proceeds will go towards helping those who have been recently unemployed back into work, the street newspaper has revealed.

A new Big Issue e-bike

The Big Issue is planning to launch a fleet of e-bikes in early 2021 Credit: The Big Issue

The Big Issue has launched a new scheme with Norwegian e-bike operator ShareBike, in what it is calling a “bid to break the cycle of unemployment”.

Big Issue-branded e-bikes will initially be available to rent in Cambridge – the home city of Big Issue founder Lord John Bird – with the proceeds going towards supporting previously unemployed people back into work.

The famous street newspaper says it plans to launch a fleet across the UK in early 2021, and that employees who manage the scheme will be paid a “living wage”.

The Big Issue claims that the e-bike scheme provides an “ethical and sustainable way to boost the environmental credentials of towns and cities across the UK.”

Lord Bird said: “By renting an e-bike from The Big Issue not only are you doing good for the environment, but you are doing good for others too. You are biking for good.”

Lord Bird was hopeful that the partnership with ShareBike would relieve some of the problems faced by people across the UK and called on local authorities to adopt the new scheme. “We are living through some dark times, with predictions that hundreds of thousands of people could lose their jobs and be made homeless,” Lord Bird added. “It’s been wonderful to come together with a like-minded organisation with a truly innovative venture that offers hope to those facing great adversity due to Covid-related poverty.

“We are confident that The Big Issue eBikes scheme will recruit and retrain unemployed and vulnerable people in local communities and provide them with access to support and services to improve their lives.”

Jan Tore Endresen, chief executive of ShareBike, said: “In our partnership with The Big Issue, ShareBike sees a unique opportunity to help people whilst providing sustainable mobility.

“With more than 20 years’ experience in global bike sharing we have ensured that Big Issue eBikes offer a comfortable and convenient alternative to fossil fuel-based transportation, as well as providing an affordable mode of travelling around cities in the UK.”

The Big Issue says that councils or businesses can sign up to the scheme at and cyclists can register to find out when Big Issue eBikes will be available in their area.

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