1. Employee Benefit Program
Funding source: Employer subsidized
Scale: 30 vehicles
Location: Users notified of eligibility by employer
Organized by: Employer benefits department & employee sustainability team
FreeBike is procuring a bulk order of a variety of electric vehicles, ranging from ebikes to family-carriers and scooters, which will be distributed to the employees by the employer. Each bike will be tastefully labeled with the employer’s brand. FreeBike provided a menu of options and communications materials to the Benefits department, helping the department measure employee interest. Based on the employee requests, the appropriate mix of vehicles will be ordered and distributed. Each participating employee will receive a helmet, lock, and charger along with the vehicle, for as long as they remain an employee. FreeBike worked with a local bike shop to get employees a bulk-discount on any future maintenance needs. The employer already provides employees with an allowance for a variety of health and wellness benefits, and the FreeBike vehicles are simply an addition to that menu.
The employer’s tax-deductible cost of a FreeBike-procured electric vehicle is ⅔ lower than the cost of a vehicle purchased at retail by the employee using after-tax earnings.
One more thing:
The employer anticipates a variety of benefits from this initial pilot program: increased employee satisfaction and retention, as well as health and productivity; reduced on-site car parking needs, and enhanced transportation demand management (TDM) compliance; and reduced health care costs. The employer also anticipates opportunities to generate positive coverage of the FreeBike program in the local and trade media, as well as through awareness based on the branding on the vehicles.
2. Public Transit Reinforcement
Funding source: Transit agency funds
Scale: 1,000 vehicles
Location: Publicity, recruitment, and distribution happening at transit stations
Organized by: Transit agency and community NGOs
FreeBike is in talks with the transit agency to procure electric vehicles that will be distributed in neighborhoods that are experiencing covid-related transit service reductions. Transit riders whose service is affected, and who hold a monthly pass, will have the opportunity to receive a personal vehicle for as long as they maintain a monthly transit pass. Users who check out a vehicle will receive a helmet, lock, and charger along with the vehicle. It was particularly important to the agency that FreeBike is able to provide a wide variety of vehicles suitable for anyone who historically rode the affected bus lines: electric wheelchair-style vehicles for seniors and others who might be uncomfortable on a two-wheeler; family-suitable long-tail ebikes; cargo bikes; single-rider ebikes; and scooters which are especially popular with their university & youth clients. In addition to communications from the transit agency, there will be outreach from community NGOs to ensure widespread awareness. The transit agency is considering selling ad space on the vehicles. FreeBike will provide substantial input for the complete program development and implementation.
The transit agency’s delivery cost per trip in the areas experiencing service reductions is well over $10, whereas the delivered cost per trip of those trips delivered on FreeBike vehicles is anticipated to be under $0.50. At the scale of the proposed pilot, the FreeBike vehicles are expected to fully replace the number of daily trips lost by the likely mass transit service cuts, though across a somewhat reduced user base. In the proposed plan, the transit agency will carefully monitor program demand, as well as the number of program participants who connect to other mass transit modes or otherwise complete multi-modal trips on a regular basis.
One more thing:
Between covid, the rise of ride-hailing and other novel transit services, changing ridership needs, and targets for reduced fleetwide greenhouse gas emissions, transit agencies are under extraordinary pressure to stretch every dollar. FreeBike’s zero-markup wholesale vehicle procurement service, as well as its ability to provide efficient professional services, give transit agencies an extraordinary opportunity to tap into the possibilities of light electric vehicles in serving their communities. Transit agencies already work to integrate buses, shuttles, para-transit, and other modes into the broader transportation landscapes of their communities. FreeBike lets these agencies provide enhanced, flexible service in lower-demand areas, funneling riders toward higher-volume corridors where mass transit vehicles are irreplaceable.
3. City Lending Library
Funding source: $1M state grant for initial 3 year period
Scale: 500 vehicles, plus substantial measurement and community engagement
Location: City libraries in low-income neighborhoods
Organized by: City mayor’s office; city libraries; local non-profit partners;
FreeBike is procuring electric bikes, scooters, and mobility vehicles that will be available to be checked out from two city library branches located in low-income neighborhoods. Users who check out a vehicle will receive a helmet, lock, and charger along with the vehicle. They will be able to check out the vehicle for one month, returnable at any time, and will have the option to renew for up to a total of 3 months. Local non-profits will be involved in the maintenance of the vehicles, as well as community engagement, and will provide training to neighborhood youth to become certified light electric vehicle technicians, with FreeBike providing substantial input for the complete program development.
Over the expected 3 year life of the vehicles, thousands of area residents will have the opportunity to ride electric bikes and scooters at no cost to them. If the vehicles are checked out 80% of the time, the result will be more than 1M rides, for a cost per trip of less than $1. Compared to the cost of other options for increasing mobility in the target neighborhoods, this represents a savings of over $10M.
One more thing:
The community ebike lending library, created and administered by FreeBike and a team of cooperating program participants, will help ensure that the entire community benefits from the city’s steadily-increasing safe streets infrastructure. This pilot project will involve substantial measurement by a local non-profit partner, to better understand the ways that the neighborhood residents use the vehicles, and the associated benefits. The mayor’s office has a track record of supporting safe streets, and this pilot is in response to feedback from the community that many people lack vehicles, and that the safe streets are disproportionately benefiting those communities whose residents are wealthy enough to afford to buy their own bikes. Similarly, the vehicle fleet will include a variety of ebikes, family-carrier ebikes, scooters, and disability-friendly mobility vehicles in order to ensure that the widest possible range of neighborhood residents can participate.
4. County Workforce Development Program
Funding source: Allocation from state workforce development funding
Scale: 50 vehicles, plus substantial measurement and community engagement
Location: County workforce development center
Organized by: County department of environment; local non-profit
FreeBike is procuring electric cargo bikes that will be available to be checked out by county residents working or seeking to work in the delivery industry, each of whom will be able to keep the vehicle for up to a year, at the end of which if they have remained employed in the delivery industry they will be eligible to keep the cargo bike permanently. Each participant will receive a helmet, lock, and charger along with the vehicle. A local non-profit will assist with outreach in the community, as well as with maintenance and operations based on training & guidance from FreeBike.
Over the expected 3 year life of the vehicles, at least 50 area residents are expected to use the approximately $60,000 of FreeBike-procured vehicles to collectively earn over $5.5M in wages. Each electric delivery vehicle will displace a gas-burning car that might otherwise have been used, avoiding 1.5 million miles of congestion-causing vehicular traffic and over 1.2 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.
One more thing:
This program was prompted by a study which found that the majority of delivery drivers did not have sufficient cash on hand to purchase an electric bike, that over 70% of drivers in the local gig delivery economy said they would switch from driving their car to using an electric bike if one were available, and that the reduction in operating costs of switching from a car to an electric cargo bike would materially improve the take-home pay of the delivery workforce. In addition to the workforce considerations, the county suffers from high levels of automotive congestion on city streets and would greatly benefit from reductions in delivery-related traffic and air pollution.
5. Housing Amenity
Funding source: Included in rent at discretion of property manager
Scale: 50 vehicles to start
Location: Established residential complex
Organized by: Property manager and owner interested in enhancing the property