Company bike is gaining ground in Flanders
Cycling is on the rise in commuting traffic in Flanders. To encourage companies to focus on the fleet bicycle, a ‘commuter fund’ exists to subsidise two-wheelers.
The interest in the so-called Commuter Fund or Pendelfonds is so great that the registration period is extended. “Every company bike is one fewer car in daily traffic jams”, Minister of Mobility, Ben Weyts (N-VA), justifies his decision.
Already 745 applications
Currently there are already 745 companies that have submitted an application to the Pendelfonds, a subsidy program to finance projects that promote sustainable commuting. With this high number of interested parties, the current registration period, which ran until August 10th, was the most successful ever (527 applications in 2018, compared to 357 in 2017).
Because many companies still wanted to apply after the deadline, Minister Weyts has decided to extend the registration period until September 15th. The Minister hopes that this call will result in thousands of additional company bicycles.
2,2 million euro available
The total budget available is 2,2 million euro. The money will be distributed to the best projects. From ordinary bicycles and electric bicycles, to covered bicycle sheds or well-equipped showers: all initiatives are allowed to convince employees to leave their cars aside.
Companies that submit an application via the Pendelfonds can receive a subsidy of up to 1.000 euro for the purchase of an electric bicycle, 1.750 euro for a speed pedelec and for a standard bicycle it’s up to 375 euro.
The subsidy amounts to a maximum of half of the costs associated with the implementation of the project, with a maximum of 200.000 euro and a maximum project duration of four years.
The Pendelfonds also subsidizes when companies want to lease bicycles. Some companies facilitate the ‘group purchase’ of a bicycle, so that employees can benefit from favourable conditions.
Remarkable reduction in CO2 emission
One of the pioneers in getting the company’s employees on their bikes is Reynaers Aluminium in Duffel, near Antwerp (Belgium). Currently 140 employees come to work by bicycle or carpooling.
Depending on the distance to be covered, employees are given a classic or electric bicycle. Anyone who combines this bicycle with public transport will be given a collapsible bike.
There is only one condition: at least half of all commuting must be done by bicycle. In exchange, the employees receive a bicycle allowance. Since the company submitted its first application in 2012, it has succeeded in reducing its employees’ CO2 emissions while commuting by 27%.
As a matter of fact, insurance companies also feel the rise of fleet bicycles. The insurer Callant insures around 1.500 fleet bicycles. At the end of last year, there were about 300. Other insurers are also noticing the evolution.
Reynaers’ facility and mobility director, Karin Reynaers, is not surprised that other companies are now registering with such enthusiasm: “In these times mobility is often a problem for companies, so looking for creative alternatives to the car is an added value.”