The Low Emission Neighbourhoods are areas with many families with young children, as evidenced by the presence of several primary schools.
Price is often cited as an important barrier to more adoption of cargobikes. A good quality cargobike typically costs £2000.
Several European cities have recently announced policies to assist the purchase of cargobikes. Here are a few examples:
- Oslo is offering a subsidy of 25%, up to 10,000NKr (=£960) towards the purchase of electric assist cargobikes
- Vienna is offering a subsidy of €800 for the purchase of cargobikes (€1000 for electric assist)
- Munich is offering a subsidy of up to €2000 for the purchase of electric assist cargobikes, if buyer shows that she/he is offsetting the purchase of a vehicle running on fossil fuels.
These initiatives make sense on a number of grounds:
- Cargobike subsidies are much cheaper than subsidies of electric cars
- Cargobikes are a vivid and mobile promotional tool for cycling in general
- A parent with two children on a cargobike provides a positive social benefit to the city, as opposed to the social costs (air/noise pollution, congestion, danger) the same parent would cause if she were driving a car (as calculated by the City of Copenhagen)
We therefore suggest to run a subsidy programme for cargobikes as part of the Low Emission Neighbourhood initiative. This could be run in partnership with some of the main brands that have headquarters or main branches in the Neighbourhood and for whom families with children are a key customer segment. The sponsors would benefit from full livery on the cargobikes. This indeed is a model that has already been adopted successfully in South West Paris.
How it would work:
- Selection of 3 models on offer
- Subsidy = 50% of retail price; paid by sponsor, in exchange of full livery of cargobike
- Cargobike is leased to buyer for three years, after which period ownership is passed to customer.
- Customer undertakes to use bike at least three times / week
- LEN finds sponsors and prepares contracts.
If successful, pilot can be extended to other parts of London.