Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Italian city to pay people to commute by bike

Bari, capital of southern Italy's Puglia region, hopes to double number of cyclists...

Bari is set to become the first major Italian city to introduce a scheme that will pay people to cycle to work, and will also be providing funds to help people buy new or refurbished bikes.

The council that runs the Puglia region's capital, which has a population of 327,000 people and 1.3 million in its wider metropolitan area, will pay up to €25 a month to bike commuters during a four-month trial of the initiative, reports La Repubblica.

The initiative is backed by a grant of €545,000 from Italy’s ministry of the environment and will see cyclists earn 20 cents per kilometre while riding to and from work, and 4 cents per kilometre for other trips within the city limits, or half those amounts for people using e-bikes.

The sums that can potentially be earned are capped at €1 per day, or €100 over the course of the four-month pilot, approved by the city’s council last week.

It will also subsidise brand the purchase of new bikes to the tune of €150, while €250 will be reimbursed to those buying a new e-bike, and €100 for people who buy a reconditioned bicycle.

Funds available under the pilot scheme will be sufficient to help finance the acquisition of 3,000 bicycles, while up to 1,000 cyclists will be able to benefit from the earn-while-you-commute scheme.

Each will be given a GPS unit to track their riding and ensure there is no cheating, and each month the 10 people covering the furthest distance under the scheme will receive an additional bonus of €50.

“The new year opens with a gift to everyone who loves the bicycle,” said Bari’s mayor, Antonio Decaro, who added that the initiative forms part of a plan to double the number of people cycling in the city.

Financial incentives to get people commuting by bike have been introduced in countries such as the Netherlands and France – and while Bari is the first major city in Italy to adopt such a scheme, it is not the first place in the country to do so.

The town of Massarosa in the province of Lucca, Tuscany, introduced a scheme in 2015 offering up to €50 a month for those among its 22,500 citizens who decided to ride to work, financed by fines collected from motorists.

Rather than reducing car use, however, it was found that the scheme saw people who previously commuted by public transport or car-pooling switch to two wheels.


> Italian town pays people to cycle to work

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Add new comment


iandusud | 5 years ago
1 like

Whilst I applaud this scheme, as I would any scheme that encourages people to cycle rather than use a car for local joureys, the best way of spending money to get more people cycling is to invest in proper cycling infrastructure/road design.

With this scheme if the infrastructure is still just as intimidating to non or inexperienced cyclists as it is in most cities the financial incentive will only work for those who either have the confindence and skills to ride amongst the motorised traffic, or those who don't who will put themselves in danger.

Latest Comments