11:28 AM ET
Bari, Italy, will pay people to commute by bike, and reimburse part of the cost of buying a new bike. Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters
Similar plans have been tried in Paris, Milan, and elsewhere with mixed results. So will Bari’s cash-to-cycle program find success?
The southern Italian city of Bari is keen to get more of its citizens cycling to work. So keen, in fact, that it’s prepared to pay them.
Starting in February, the city of roughly 330,000 residents will fit up to 1,000 participating bikes owned by individuals with GPS devices to measure mileage and award riders €0.20 per kilometer (about $1.13 per mile) for any bike journey between home and work. For bike journeys other than work commutes, participants will get €0.04 per kilometer, with the overall amount of money handed over (by bank transfer) in a month capped at €25 per person. Not a bad windfall for people who just want to get from point A to point B.
The plan, while unusual, should still ring a bell for many bike enthusiasts. France introduced a similar scheme (organized by a company, rather than, as in Bari’s case, by municipality) to encourage employees to bike to work in 2014. Milan tried something similar the following year. Cash bonuses for people switching from cars to bikes also exist in (among other places) the Dutch province of Brabant—a scheme that is proving successful enough that the Netherlands is now considering rolling it out nationally.