Beryl offers free shared bike rides to key workers in Norwich

Beryl bikes CEO Phil Ellis at the launch event for the new public cycle operator in Norwich. Photo :

Beryl bikes chief executive Phil Ellis with one of the firm's bikes in Norwich. - Credit: Steve Adams

Key workers in Norwich will be able to use the city's bike sharing service for free during the current lockdown, the firm operating it has announced.

Beryl, along with Norwich based digital agency Selesti, has launched an initiative which will allow key workers to use its bikes and e-scooters without charge.

The firm said the scheme aimed to increase transport choices for people who still had to get around for work during lockdown, making it easier to maintain social distancing.

Bay-to-bay rides were made free for up to an hour on a bike and 30 minutes on an e-scooter. All of these rides have now been allocated. 

Partnerships and campaign lead, Ben Lee said: "All the vouchers were allocated within 48 hours. It was an incredible uptake showing the demand for services like ours" 

Key workers can access the scheme by downloading the Beryl app, which is available on both the Apple and Android stores.

Beryl chief executive Phil Ellis said: "As the Covid-19 crisis continues, many people can’t stay home as they’ll be working to protect and aid the general public.

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"We want to ensure these essential workers can still be mobile and maintain safe distances from others while travelling to and from their places of work.

"As such, we’ve partnered with Selesti to make Beryl bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters temporarily free for NHS staff in Norwich, to help them get around and to say thanks for the important work they’re doing."

Selesti chief executive Ollie Blackmore added: "We’re delighted to support this initiative which will give our local key workers a free and flexible transport option.

"Not only does this help support them by saving money, it is an excellent way to reduce carbon emissions and stay fit and healthy.

"By providing 20,000 minutes, which Beryl will double to 40,000, we hope this is a small but important gesture that says thank you to all NHS staff in Norwich."

The two firms said they would be monitoring the free rides for the rest of the current lockdown, and that the scheme would continue "indefinitely".

Norfolk County Council member for highways, infrastructure and transport Martin Wilby said: "We are delighted with the popularity of the Beryl scheme since its launch last year and it's fantastic that local key workers will once again be able to use it for free.

"Every car journey we replace in this way improves local air quality, reduces congestion on our roads and our overall carbon footprint, which is exactly what the scheme is about."