A fleet of 50 tricyles could be transporting people around Adelaide for free before the end of year.
By John Merriman
Shanghai-based company Treecycle will meet with Adelaide City Council next week for preliminary discussions on the project.
The trishaws are a metre wide, weigh 70 kilograms, have hydraulic disc bakes and a rubber “bike chain’’ to ensure silent running.
Chief Executive Officer of Treecycle, Daniels Langeberg said initial discussions with the state government’s Department of Transport and the Adelaide City Council were promising.
“We see a niche transport area that can be met by the trishaws,’’ Mr Langeberg said.
“We don’t want to compete with taxis, quite the opposite, we want to complement the current transport system operating in Adelaide.
“The trishaws would be more of a feeding and dispersing system from taxi ranks and across shorts distances around the city.
“I see it as a way to link major precincts such as Hindley St, Rundle St and Hutt St. Many people see these areas as too far away to walk to but too close to pay for a taxi.
“By transporting people for free across these areas we could be ensuring people stayed in the city for entertainment longer, while also helping reduce congestion on the roads.’’
The company recently sold a fleet of 50 trishaws in the Spanish city of Madrid and believes Adelaide has the perfect attributes for the trishaws to thrive.
“A combination of flat topography, excellent climate and the scale of the city make Adelaide ideal for trishaws,’’ he said.
The trishaws have a top speed of 25km/h and are motor assisted. They are lightweight, safe and would make use of the bike lanes in the city as well as using the parklands and other green spaces as thoroughfares.
Each bike would carry two advertising lightboxes with this revenue, and any government of council subsidies, making the project feasible.
“It is another way to promote a healthy lifestyle in the city and continue to raise the profile of cycling in Adelaide,’’ Mr Langeberg said.
“I think passengers in the bikes would get a first hand experience of what it is like to be sharing the road with cars and maybe help them be a bit more understanding of cyclists when they are driving in the city.
“I also think it would be great for night clubbers in the city,’’ he said.
“Many people, especially women wearing high heels, probably wouldn’t contemplate walking for 20 minutes between venues but if they could easily access free and quick transport I think they would take advantage of that.
“In the same vein it would be very helpful for the elderly to get to see the city up close also.’’
The trishaws could be a boon to late-night party goers.
He said the company would hope to move the manufacturing of the bikes to South Australia.
“I was born and bred in South Australia and our goal is to open a base right here in Adelaide,’’ Mr Langeberg said.
“Ideally we would like to set up a central based and servicing area within the city and also offer our expertise to any bike rider needing maintenance on their own bikes, whether the ride a $50 bike or a $5000 bike.
“There is a lot of work to do and I’m sure we will experience some teething problems but we aiming to have a functional and polished product operating by the time the next Tour Down Under begins in 2015.’’
“We are really encouraging feedback from the South Australia community and would love to hear what they think. They can visit our facebook page at facebook.com/treecycles to let us know their thoughts or if they have any questions about the trishaws.’’
This article originally appeared in the Lead.