A few employers own bicycles that they can loan to their workers as an introduction to bike commuting, but a Kaiser Permanente Northwest pilot program this year is taking that to the next level.
The health company is loaning folding e-bikes to 180 of its employees.
The goal is, in part, to increase active commutes by introducing more commuters to the transit-friendly vehicles that can address one of the biggest reasons workers neither bike or bus to work: they live too far away to bike, and too far from a bus stop to take transit.
Folding bikes with an electric assist, though, make it easy to pump up suburban hills to a bus stop a mile or two away.
Supporting the program is a $148,000 Metro grant that will also help monitor and analyze the behavior of the 180+ people who receive one of the 30 loaner bikes for cycles of three months each. We first wrote about the program last year.
“The plan is to create a replicable model for deployment within Kaiser as well as other area employers,” according to the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium’s description of the project.
Curious about how Kaiser’s loaner program is working so far? We certainly are. You can find out more in two weeks at TriMet’s next “Transit on Tap” event on Tuesday, July 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. It’ll cover “Bikes and transit in the Portland area.” TriMet active transportation planner Jeff Owen and Kaiser consultant Lauren Whyte will be the featured guests, discussing this program and other bike/transit crossover issues.
Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.