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Eco-friendly e-bikes for Sandton Central

Growthpoint Properties recently introduced the first electronic bike hubs to Sandton Central in a pilot project that pioneers a new, convenient and environmentally innovative alternative mode of transport for South Africa’s financial hub.


E de Klerk and W van Antwerpen

The e-bike project adds a new service for Growthpoint’s clients, staff and guests. Starting with staff, the project has been running for two weeks, and is already proving popular.

The city’s first public e-bicycle hubs are directly opposite the Sandton Gautrain Station at 138 West Street building and outside The Place at 1 Sandton Drive, which are both owned by Growthpoint.

The launch fleet of 20 Growthpoint branded e-bicycles look just like conventional bikes, but are fitted with electric motors. If the pilot project proves to be successful, more hubs will be installed at Sandton’s leading businesses and destinations, and more bikes will be added to the fleet.

Growthpoint managing director, Estienne de Klerk, says this initiative introduces a different, convenient, eco-friendly way of getting around Sandton Central, and helps people move between Sandton Gautrain Station and The Place more efficiently.

“We believe it will 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.”

Growthpoint, South Africa’s largest REIT and a JSE ALSI Top 40 Index company, is recognised as a leader in green building. It is a Platinum Founding Member of the Green Building Council South Africa, and owns or co-owns the largest portfolio of Green Star SA certified buildings of any company in South Africa.

Werner van Antwerpen, who heads up Growthpoint’s sustainability division, says: “As a responsible property owner, manager and developer, Growthpoint is acutely aware that as our suburbs and cities expand, traffic congestion will intensify. It is imperative to explore alternative modes of transport.”

He says Growthpoint has been exploring the possibility of introducing e-bicycles to Sandton for some time now. If the first stage of the project proves practical, and van Antwerpen is confident it will, the initiative will grow. He says Growthpoint staff members are already using the e-bikes to attend meetings, take lunch breaks and do shopping. Although they are mostly used for travel between the office and the Gautrain station, they are also proving to be a great green business tool with the company’s building managers biking between Growthpoint’s different properties in the Sandton Central node.

“There’s an opportunity for many more hubs to be installed around this business centre,” says van Antwerpen.

“The City of Johannesburg has said it is committed to becoming bicycle-friendly. Already, this e-bicycle project has attracted keen interest from several companies in our significant portfolio of Sandton Central office buildings, and other businesses too, who are eager for their own e-bike charging hubs. We also believe this initiative will help make Growthpoint’s buildings more attractive to Gautrain users.”

The e-bikes are supplied by GreenCycles, which shares Growthpoint’s vision of greener, cleaner places to work and live.

“One of the big advantages of using these e-bikes is that you don’t have to be super fit. 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 and feeling cool,” says de Klerk.

Electric bicycles contribute to lower CO2 emissions, cleaner air, and less traffic congestion. In addition, the e-bike charging hub opposite the Sandton Gautrain Station is solar powered.

“Growthpoint’s GreenCycles are convenient, free and fun,” says van Antwerpen. “Bikes are checked out using a formal pre-booking service on the www.greencycles.co.za website. They can be collected from the charging hubs at 138 West Street, opposite the Sandton Gautrain Station, and in front of the guardhouse at The Place at 1 Sandton Drive.

Each e-bike is tracked by means of GPS, which provides an exact breakdown of how many kilometres it has done. 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.


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