Growthpoint Properties' pioneering eco-friendly electronic bike hub project in Sandton Central has proven a resounding success with over 1,000 bike share trips, so far.
This milestone was reached in a mere 24 weeks with Growthpoint's starter fleet of only 20 bikes and two solar-powered stations.
Werner van Antwerpen, who heads up Growthpoint's specialised sustainability division, reports the number of bikes used from the Growthpoint-owned The Place at 1 Sandton Drive, which is also Growthpoint's headquarters, has grown pleasingly since the project began.
Trips from Growthpoint-owned 138 West Street, opposite the Sandton Gautrain Station - which began operating six weeks after the Sandton Drive hub - have increased exponentially.
He reveals that while Growthpoint staff are enthusiastic supporters of the project, the bikes provided by Greencycles are for everyone and a wide array of people are using them.
Sharing remarkable project statistics, van Antwerpen notes most trips take place on Friday, and the fewest are taken on Monday. "Trips increase in a linear manner over the working week."
In addition, each e-bike is pro-actively tracked and not a single one has gone missing.
Weather impacts bike use and, while this may be obvious, what's more revealing is that demand for bikes increases during major events in Sandton Central. This was clear, for example, during the Green Building Council South Africa's annual convention and the Nelson Mandela Day food packing drive.
"This initiative has proven itself and that there is a demand within Sandton Central for other ways of getting around," says van Antwerpen. "People who work in Sandton have shown they see an electric bike share as a great option, especially those who use public transport to get to Sandton."
One of the advantages of e-bicycles in Sandton's hilly topography is that you don't have to be super fit, in fact, they're a cruise. They're fitted with an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery that can be charged like a cellphone. E-bikers can arrive at the office looking cool and feeling cool too.
Intended for short trips around the Sandton Central neighbourhood, a bike can be booked for several hours before it needs to be returned to the docking station. Van Antwerpen reports that, so far, peak hours for bike trips are from 7am to 9am, from midday to 1pm, and from 3pm to 4pm.
"We are confident that, as the project grows and stations remain open for longer, its use will increase and spread into the extended hours. There's already a big demand," reveals van Antwerpen.
What's more, Growthpoint's bike share pilot project has, so far, created sustainable full-time jobs for two young people passionate about the biking industry who are the station masters for each hub.
And, with the exciting figures proving its popularity, it is little wonder that other corporates in Sandton Central have started queuing up to join the e-bike share initiative.
"We believe in this project and are excited to see other companies in Sandton Central's business community that share our vision of greener and cleaner places to live and work also getting involved," says van Antwerpen. To help it reach critical mass, Growthpoint has committed to support the project for at least another year. So have GreenCycles.
As the largest South African primary listed Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) this initiative takes Growthpoint's environmental innovation beyond its properties and into the streets, connecting people and places, and creating a valuable, much-needed resource for all Sandton Central's businesses, residents and visitors.
Estienne de Klerk, Managing Director of Growthpoint Properties, says: "We felt this was the right way to create a greater cycling culture and scheme in Sandton, improve traffic congestion, reduce harmful emissions and simply make it easier to move around South Africa's financial district."
This aligns with Growthpoint's vision to be a leading international property company providing space to thrive and creating value for all its stakeholders with innovative and sustainable property solutions.
Growthpoint is a Platinum Founding Member of GBCSA, a member of the GBCSA's Green Building Leader Network, and has been included in the FTSE/JSE Responsible Investment Index for seven years running. It owns and manages a diversified portfolio of 530 property assets including 467 properties in South Africa, 63 properties in Australia through its investment in Growthpoint Properties Australia (GOZ) and a 50% interest in the properties at V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.
"As a responsible property owner, manager and developer, Growthpoint is acutely aware that, as our suburbs and cities expand, traffic congestion will intensify. E-bikes contribute to lower CO2 emissions, cleaner air, and less traffic congestion. They're also convenient, free and fun," says de Klerk.
Pre-book Growthpoint GreenCycles at www.greencycles.co.za. It is also where you'll find more info on how to get involved, sponsorship opportunities, and installing your own corporate e-bike station.