On 1 June, Growthpoint Properties 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.
The e-bike project adds an exciting new service for Growthpoint’s clients, staff and guests. Starting with staff, the project has been running for two weeks, and is already experiencing tremendous use.
The company has installed the city’s first public e-bicycle hubs directly opposite the Sandton Gautrain Station at the Growthpoint-owned 138 West Street building and outside The Place at 1 Sandton Drive, which is owned by Growthpoint and also the address of its own headquarters.
The launch fleet of 20 Growthpoint branded e-bicycles look just like conventional bikes, but are fitted with an electric motor.
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.
Estienne de Klerk, Managing Director of Growthpoint Properties, comments: “We’re delighted to launch this initiative and introduce a different, convenient, eco-friendly way of getting around Sandton Central, and help 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.
This initiative takes Growthpoint’s environmental innovation beyond its buildings and into the streets, connecting people and places, and creating a valuable, much-needed resource for all Sandton Central’s businesses, residents and visitors.
Werner van Antwerpen, who heads up Growthpoint’s specialised sustainability division, explains: “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 notes that 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 that Growthpoint staff members are already using the e-bikes to attend meetings, take lunch breaks and do shopping. While 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 bustling business centre,” says van Antwerpen
“The City of Johannesburg has said it is committed to becoming bicycle-friendly,” says van Antwerpen. “Already, the Growthpoint 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 Growthpoint 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 Growthpoint’s GreenCycles 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 cool and feeling cool too.
Electronic 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. He explains that bikes are checked out using a formal pre-booking service on the www.greencycles.co.za website. Bikes 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 via 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.