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Shovel-Ready Simplicity


It's a New Year, and FreeBike is even more necessary than it was in 2020. Everywhere you look, from the nation's capitol to states and cities large & small, everyone is trying to figure out how to get people and the economy moving again. America has the talent, skills, and money to get the job done. What the country doesn't have is time to waste. FreeBike is a simple, flexible solution that can be deployed far more rapidly than any other mobility solution.


There is a big federal stimulus bill under discussion, as well as emergency legislation being prepared by states and cities. The last time the economy went through a major convulsion, back in 2008, there was also a big federal stimulus bill. If you lived through that time, you remember the phrase "shovel-ready". The government wanted to get people back to work, but it turned out to be really difficult to find projects that were ready to build. The result was millions of people unemployed while the money very slowly made its way into the economy over the course of years. The same will prove to be true this time as we work to "build back better" - unless this new stimulus and other covid-era efforts like it focus on radically different types of investments.


Just a few miles from FreeBike's headquarters, in San Francisco, a new highway off-ramp opened recently. That off-ramp cost $1.4 billion dollars, and took roughly thirty years to plan and build. Nothing against the off-ramp, it's no doubt very well-constructed and good at getting cars on and off that one section of highway. It's worth noting though that for its price tag, every single person in the city could have been given a free electric bike - and a second one for a friend! And you know what, those bikes (and scooters, and wheelchairs, and cargo-bikes) would move literally hundreds of times more people, with far fewer traffic deaths, and zero emissions, and would not just serve people who can already afford to drive a personal car. Also, the project would have been done in less than 1% the time that off-ramp took.


If we want to get money and people in motion, while leaving it up to people when and where to go, the answer can't be more highways and off-ramps. It needs to be something far faster, far more flexible, far more equitable, and far more sustainable. FreeBike can provide mobility to any number of people within a matter of months, not years.


So, for all of you wishing that the economy and the people in your community could get back in motion, just remember: sometimes, the most shovel-ready solutions are the ones that don't require shovels at all.

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