Author Topic: Getting paid to bike to work  (Read 8145 times)

leherself

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Getting paid to bike to work
« on: February 09, 2015, 10:28:24 PM »
I was just reminded that my office has an optional fitness program - you can use up to an hour of your work day as fitness time (although there's a max. of 4 hours a week, and only certain activities are approved - thankfully biking is one of them.  Also need to get a doctor's note approving me for physical activity, etc.).

Now that I'm moving closer to work, if I bike to work (probably 25 minutes each way), then all of that time will actually be on the clock.  I effectively go from driving an hour a day and working eight hours, to biking an hour a day and working 7 (4 days a week, anyway).  So long as I can still get all of my work done in the time allotted, I'm golden.

MMM talks about notionally getting your hourly wage biking vs. driving, but I will *literally* be getting paid more than $25 an hour to ride my bike to work :D  As if it wasn't a great enough idea already...

Anyone else have a similar program at their work?  Maybe you should suggest it!  There are all sorts of official justifications (fitter workforce means fewer sick days, less expense for employer-sponsored health care, etc.).

Syonyk

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2015, 11:22:01 PM »
My work used to have a "donate bike days to charity" thing going on, but that was cancelled in favor of some other changes to giving.  It didn't serve as much of a motivation for people to bike, and I actually just forgot about it - I had to check in every day.  And felt a little guilty, since my ebike isn't entirely self powered (though a great way of getting to work).

Right now, "Parking is a nightmare, with valets and overflow lots" seems to be a pretty good incentive to bike...

wileyish

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2015, 07:46:38 PM »
That’s rad! My company does the opposite. They pay for (valet!) parking, but they do not subsidize biking or public transit. At least the building managers put in a bike rack two years ago.

In a few years I plan on down-shifting to a lower paying fun job. High on my list is a little bike shop that also delivers meals via bicycle from restaurants that source their produce from local and sustainable farms. On a group ride recently I told the owner I plan to “pre-tire” as one of his employees and he laughingly said that he hears that a lot. Ha, I love my town.

If all goes well, I will get paid to ride my bike to work.

Mr One Wheel Drive

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2015, 09:24:35 PM »
I am on the other side of this equation. As a manager it bothers me that I pay my staff's parking, but nothing for cycling or transit.

I bike in year around and others do in the non-winter months. A parking spot is $100 a month. I wonder if I paid people $100 a month to bike/bus in how many might switch to that?

The downside is that other departments would have to start it too if I do. For some reason, even though the amount is minuscule compared to salaries, parking is a real touchy subject. Especially if some people get it and others don't.

I'm also curious to hear about what other companies do.

bigalsmith101

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2015, 10:02:14 AM »
This is second hand from someone I met an REI store (outdoor equipment outfitter).

I was looking a backpacks, and a pretty seriously overweight guy was standing nearby doing the same thing. He had questions but couldn't find someone to help, so I stepped in and volunteered.

As it turned out, he was shopping for a day pack, to use on his walk to work. His company reimbursed it's employees for using alternate forms of transportation other than a car. You bike, walk, bus, etc, and you get this "bonus".

Well, this guy was originally 400lbs when he started walking 4 miles each way to and from work. It took him over 2 hours each way for the first few weeks until his body kicked it's ass into high gear and started losing weight. Stopping at bus stops to sit on benches was his routine for a while. When I met him, he had been walking 8 miles a day (40mi/wk) for 4 months already, and he had lost 80lbs. When I saw him he was 320lbs and getting paid $125/mo to walk. He was using the money earned by walking to buy exactly the right backpack that would help enable him to enjoy walking more so he could get down to 200lbs at 6'2".

It was snowing that day in Seattle. I asked him about the weather being an issue. He said, "Does it look like my fat ass will get cold anytime soon? HA! I'll take care of that shit when it matters more. I'll probably just buy an awesome coat after another couple months of being paid to exercise."

I was stoked to meet this guy! FUCK YEA!
« Last Edit: February 15, 2015, 10:06:24 AM by bigalsmith101 »

Mr One Wheel Drive

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2015, 08:45:50 PM »
I am looking into setting up a way to pay people who don't drive in (take transit or bike) an amount equal to the price of the parking pass, that they can use towards their transportation at my workplace, and also considering a fitness type of bonus like paying for gym memberships or sports clubs like soccer or hockey.

Anyone else work at a place that does this?

I figure my options is just to pay people cash and leave it to them to spend on it how they want (which isn't really targeted), pay outright for a gym membership and give it to the employees (and those that don't want it are stuck), or get them to pay for something and submit their receipts and we would reimburse them.

Does anyone else have an experience with this?

theSchmett

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2015, 06:01:27 AM »
Where is this program? Is it state funded? This may coincide with my work in transportation demand management.

HenryDavid

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2015, 07:54:20 AM »
If you bike to work you automatically "get paid" in the form of savings. And fitness. And mental health.
This work deal sounds amazing however.

misschedda

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2015, 10:05:11 AM »
What a great deal! My company offers a stipend for taking public transportation to work, but no incentives for biking. If only...

Eric

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2015, 10:24:28 AM »
Wow, that's awesome!  Are you hiring?  ;)

TrMama

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2015, 10:51:15 AM »
I am looking into setting up a way to pay people who don't drive in (take transit or bike) an amount equal to the price of the parking pass, that they can use towards their transportation at my workplace, and also considering a fitness type of bonus like paying for gym memberships or sports clubs like soccer or hockey.

Anyone else work at a place that does this?

I figure my options is just to pay people cash and leave it to them to spend on it how they want (which isn't really targeted), pay outright for a gym membership and give it to the employees (and those that don't want it are stuck), or get them to pay for something and submit their receipts and we would reimburse them.

Does anyone else have an experience with this?

My company has a $300/yr fitness benefit. In our case it can only be used to pay for gym memberships, ski passes, fitness classes, etc. It can't be used for physical items (like bike gear). We pay for the fitness stuff up front and submit receipts to get reimbursed. I bike commute most of the time and would love if I could put this money towards all the parts I wear out each year.

wileyish

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2015, 04:24:22 PM »
I am looking into setting up a way to pay people who don't drive in (take transit or bike) an amount equal to the price of the parking pass, that they can use towards their transportation at my workplace, and also considering a fitness type of bonus like paying for gym memberships or sports clubs like soccer or hockey.

Anyone else work at a place that does this?

I figure my options is just to pay people cash and leave it to them to spend on it how they want (which isn't really targeted), pay outright for a gym membership and give it to the employees (and those that don't want it are stuck), or get them to pay for something and submit their receipts and we would reimburse them.

Does anyone else have an experience with this?

It is fantastic that you are exploring this perk, MOWD. I’ve never worked at a company progressive enough to offer incentives like this. Personally, I would prefer the cash (to invest, of course). As a mid-level manager I’ve toyed with the idea of pitching a version of your ideas to the senior managers, but there is only one other person who bikes to work, so it seems like my plan would come across as self-serving. On the other hand, our paid parking perk was cancelled for a year or so and it was shocking how quickly people scrambled to find alternate transportation. Suddenly a good 25% were carpooling, biking, or taking transit. When the paid parking was re-instated everyone went back to driving personal cars. Maybe if there was an incentive not to drive we’d get more people being creative with their transportation plans.

willow

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2015, 03:16:32 PM »
I was just reminded that my office has an optional fitness program - you can use up to an hour of your work day as fitness time (although there's a max. of 4 hours a week, and only certain activities are approved - thankfully biking is one of them.  Also need to get a doctor's note approving me for physical activity, etc.).

Now that I'm moving closer to work, if I bike to work (probably 25 minutes each way), then all of that time will actually be on the clock.  I effectively go from driving an hour a day and working eight hours, to biking an hour a day and working 7 (4 days a week, anyway).  So long as I can still get all of my work done in the time allotted, I'm golden.

MMM talks about notionally getting your hourly wage biking vs. driving, but I will *literally* be getting paid more than $25 an hour to ride my bike to work :D  As if it wasn't a great enough idea already...

Anyone else have a similar program at their work?  Maybe you should suggest it!  There are all sorts of official justifications (fitter workforce means fewer sick days, less expense for employer-sponsored health care, etc.).

How can I get this going at my company? Do you also get a lunch break?

Bicycle_B

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2015, 10:27:46 AM »
This is second hand from someone I met an REI store (outdoor equipment outfitter).

I was looking a backpacks, and a pretty seriously overweight guy was standing nearby doing the same thing. He had questions but couldn't find someone to help, so I stepped in and volunteered.

As it turned out, he was shopping for a day pack, to use on his walk to work. His company reimbursed it's employees for using alternate forms of transportation other than a car. You bike, walk, bus, etc, and you get this "bonus".

Well, this guy was originally 400lbs when he started walking 4 miles each way to and from work. It took him over 2 hours each way for the first few weeks until his body kicked it's ass into high gear and started losing weight. Stopping at bus stops to sit on benches was his routine for a while. When I met him, he had been walking 8 miles a day (40mi/wk) for 4 months already, and he had lost 80lbs. When I saw him he was 320lbs and getting paid $125/mo to walk. He was using the money earned by walking to buy exactly the right backpack that would help enable him to enjoy walking more so he could get down to 200lbs at 6'2".

It was snowing that day in Seattle. I asked him about the weather being an issue. He said, "Does it look like my fat ass will get cold anytime soon? HA! I'll take care of that shit when it matters more. I'll probably just buy an awesome coat after another couple months of being paid to exercise."

I was stoked to meet this guy! FUCK YEA!

Awesome story!!

Cwadda

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2015, 11:07:24 AM »
Quote
MMM talks about notionally getting your hourly wage biking vs. driving, but I will *literally* be getting paid more than $25 an hour to ride my bike to work :D  As if it wasn't a great enough idea already...

That's $400/month, or $5200 per year. Almost enough to fully fund a Roth or Traditional IRA. Over 10 years at a 7% interest rate, that's $66,900.

About $67k closer to early retirement. Keep it up!

Bob W

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2015, 11:10:52 AM »
How cool is that!

Retire-Canada

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2015, 11:16:58 AM »
I've written off two nice bikes as business vehicles when I filed my taxes. :)

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Heather in Ottawa

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2015, 08:51:07 PM »
Wow, Mr. One Wheel Drive... I wish my management took that approach! I guess charging for parking to stop encouraging wasteful car use would be most simple, but that's of course a very negative thing to do to employee morale. I'd suggest offering to reimburse on request up to at least the cost of parking ($1200 annually) towards transit, bike expenses, or active wear, especially if your office is small enough that it's obvious who's commuting how. That would be a really nice thing to do to equally value your non-driving employees.

At my workplace, we're spread over two buildings, rented from different owners. One building charges for parking, but at my building, it's free, because the owner doesn't want to deal with the hassle (!) of a parking program. I'm in government, and rumour has it that Public Works actively tried to get paid parking at my location... bad optics to have free parking for government workers. It's the source of a fair amount of griping, since people are paid the same at both sites, and one gets free parking (but also is in a poor location and misses out on many other advantages that the other building has).

Personally, I'm just rolling my eyes because we have a couple of picnic tables up against  a wall near our rear entrance, and the space between them gets hand-shoveled all winter (I guess it's considered to be part of the entrance). Bike racks in the parking lot? Snowed right in. Nobody* bikes in winter, but apparently we might do outdoor lunch! :D

The facility managers at my site actually have a very negative approach to cycling. It has definitely influenced me to consider working elsewhere, and I'm now looking forward to a 9 month temporary job in a different branch of government that will have me commuting along the river paths to a bike-friendly office all summer, starting in two weeks. So, commuter appreciation matters!


*actually, about 1% of the employees at the site bike in winter, about 10% in summer.

Mr One Wheel Drive

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2015, 09:48:11 PM »
It's done! We will either continue to pay for parking, pay for a bus pass, or give a$100 / month transportation "bonus" for people who haul their own ass to work.

It's not really surprising, but absolutely nobody changed the way that they commute. Drivers who could bus for free will continue to drive because they see driving as free anyways.

Nobody felt the incentive to bike or walk was worth changing for.

Oh well, at least I feel like we are more fair now and when we look for new people I think that it presents a good image.

For those that might want to do something similar: employees will submit their bus passes and be reimbursed. It is not a taxable benefit as bus passes are tax deductible in Canada. People who transport themselves will get the bonus added to their pay. Unfortunately they will be taxed but what can you do.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2015, 10:28:43 PM »
This is second hand from someone I met an REI store (outdoor equipment outfitter).

I was looking a backpacks, and a pretty seriously overweight guy was standing nearby doing the same thing. He had questions but couldn't find someone to help, so I stepped in and volunteered.

As it turned out, he was shopping for a day pack, to use on his walk to work. His company reimbursed it's employees for using alternate forms of transportation other than a car. You bike, walk, bus, etc, and you get this "bonus".

Well, this guy was originally 400lbs when he started walking 4 miles each way to and from work. It took him over 2 hours each way for the first few weeks until his body kicked it's ass into high gear and started losing weight. Stopping at bus stops to sit on benches was his routine for a while. When I met him, he had been walking 8 miles a day (40mi/wk) for 4 months already, and he had lost 80lbs. When I saw him he was 320lbs and getting paid $125/mo to walk. He was using the money earned by walking to buy exactly the right backpack that would help enable him to enjoy walking more so he could get down to 200lbs at 6'2".

It was snowing that day in Seattle. I asked him about the weather being an issue. He said, "Does it look like my fat ass will get cold anytime soon? HA! I'll take care of that shit when it matters more. I'll probably just buy an awesome coat after another couple months of being paid to exercise."

I was stoked to meet this guy! FUCK YEA!

That is so awesome. I love this area, I love that fat hero, I love this entire story - thank you for sharing.  The clever bastard probably got a dividend on that backpack, too...which he can use to discount the coat!

SeattleStache

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2015, 10:33:08 AM »
At a previous employer they would pay $75/month to those who walked, biked, or bused to work since this was the same amount they subsidized parking for those who chose to drive (I still don't understand the purpose of subsidizing drive-alone commuters).  We were also given a free bus pass which in effect is worth around $100/month.  I would walk in to work and then bus home.  I still miss that commute.  At my current job we are given free bus passes but not an extra monetary incentive.  My walk to work is even shorter now though so I'm not complaining.

Syonyk

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2015, 10:44:01 AM »
(I still don't understand the purpose of subsidizing drive-alone commuters)

Hiring employees, mostly.  If you tell people they can't park at work without paying extra, or that they just can't park at work, you lose a lot of people to places that actually have parking.

Of course, in King County, you can't actually have enough parking for all your employees, so parking still becomes a nightmare.

SeattleStache

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2015, 02:30:06 PM »
(I still don't understand the purpose of subsidizing drive-alone commuters)

Hiring employees, mostly.  If you tell people they can't park at work without paying extra, or that they just can't park at work, you lose a lot of people to places that actually have parking.

Of course, in King County, you can't actually have enough parking for all your employees, so parking still becomes a nightmare.

True, however I work at a large employer in SLU and am not sure people wouldn't accept a job here just because they had to pay for what their parking is actually worth.  I know that a neighboring employer across the street doesn't subsidize parking (which costs $250/month at market rate) but offers a highly subsidized ORCA pass and their drive alone rate is significantly lower than my employer's.  People here end up choosing to drive because my employer makes it so "easy and cheap" for them to do so even though almost all buses travel to the downtown/SLU core.  It's a source of frustration for me because it makes things worse for traffic and the city with all these commuters driving alone to work because it is the default/easy/subsidized option.  I would be more likely to chose to work at an employer who subsidized my ORCA pass rather than one who subsidized my parking.

mlejw6

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2015, 02:49:24 PM »
We have free parking, so the bike racks are pretty empty. My very large employer pays $25/mo to walk or bike. Not bad, but could be better. They also will refund public transportation fares, but it's a pain having to fill out the paperwork for it.

Fritzy

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2015, 09:07:20 AM »
I just biked to work for the first time :) How exhilarating!

It took me 1 hr and 10 minutes to go 14.1 miles. Only about 4 of the miles were on the road, the rest were on a nice bike trail that goes right to the university where I work.

I will save $10 in gas today (at least), get my exercise in, AND feel good about not being a clown car person. I plan to bike as much as possible this summer. The weather was perfect today, though. 50 degrees and it had just rained so there were very few others on the trail. I left later than I normally would, so I'm sure it will be even more exciting on a day where I get to see all the traffic backed up as I fly by.

HOORAY! I think my mustache grew a bit bigger today!

WaRpBeast

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Re: Getting paid to bike to work
« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2015, 02:28:53 PM »
My company gives everyone an "Ecopass" Denver's yearly mass transit pass that covers bus and light rail (including going to the airport).  We also recieve $700/year for fitness/technology/parking they say to use it on gym memberships, parking, a lap top--whatever.  I bicycle in most days, but I could walk or take the bus if the weather isn't great.

We have locker rooms on site and a huge amount of free bicycle parking in the secure garage below the building.  Life is good.