A Christchurch company is offering hard cash to employees who bike to work everyday in a bid to energise staff and move the city away from a reliance on cars.
Employees who cycle to and from work will receive $5 a day and if they keep it up for more than half a year that amount will double to $10 a day, paid out as a bonus at the end of year.
“For a while I had been thinking it would be great to incentivise cycling in some way. I’m a really keen cyclist [and] cash is clearly the most obvious incentive,” Tim Chesney from advertising agency Make Collective told Stuff.
“My gut instinct is that it could be something really good for the workplace. I know for myself I show up feeling a lot more energised, my blood is already flowing.”
Chesney said some employees were initially reluctant because the office had no shower facilities, but the offer of potentially hundreds of extra dollars a year was too good to refuse and five of his six employees had joined the scheme.
“The extra money is coming straight out of the businesses profits, but I really believe there will be numerous tangible benefits as a result of people cycling to and from work.”
Developer Elliot Gilmore told Stuff that recovering from his ride to work was “the hardest part”, but the pay-off for his health was better than a gym membership.
“It’s been great so far, I mean, I get to ride through Hagley Park and see people feeding the ducks, reading books and stuff, which is quite different to just waiting for the lights
to change while driving.”
According to the council, Christchurch has more cyclists than any other New Zealand city, with 13 major cycle routes running through the wreckage and reconstruction of the city centre.
Associate transport minister Julie Anne Genter said investment in cycleways were a key feature of the ongoing rebuild, with the urban cycleways programme costingNZ$150m.
“Safe cycleways are a key part of making Christchurch a healthy, happy and vibrant city full of people, rather than traffic,” said Genter.