This is a compelling story of a man in San Diego, Philip Salzmann, who has given up driving to work because of the consistency of his 34-minute electric-bike ride across the city. And the incentives that his company offers to do so.
“Traffic was getting too much for me,” Salzmann said. “Sometimes for 10 miles it would take — not always, but sometimes — an hour… I thought a lot about how to beat that system, and biked a few times, but I was too lazy. But then I got the electric bike, and now I can do it 90 percent of the time.”
His employer, Vertex, makes it easier, offering showers, indoor bike lockers and a $20 monthly bike repair stipend. Employees also get a fully subsidized public transit pass.
Vertex is part of a transportation demand management program that helped ease the approval of the company’s new research facility, currently under construction about a quarter mile away from its current home.
Not all employers have the resources to offer the kinds of biking and transit subsidies that Vertex gives its employees. Nicole Capretz, executive director of the nonprofit Climate Action Campaign, said the city needs to talk with those companies about what they can do to encourage their employees to forgo driving. And, she said, the city can always lead by example.
“I’d love to see the mayor ride his bike to work once a week,” she said. “Something that, again, sets the right tone and signals a cultural shift, and signals that we are all in this together, and we all have to do our part.”