Bari to pay residents to commute on bikes

Each participant in this southern Italian city’s trial can earn up to $28 a month

Citizens of Bari can now get paid for using bicycles to commute to school or work. The southern Italian city has become the country’s first to launch an incentive to make its residents switch from cars to the healthier and greener mode of transport.

Bari’s mayor wants to double the number of bicycles in 2019 — lovefranco / Shutterstock Bari to pay residents to commute on bikes Bari bikes
Bari’s mayor wants to double the number of bicycles in 2019 — lovefranco / Shutterstock

Residents taking part in a four-month trial will receive $0.23 (€0.20) per each kilometre of commuting on bikes — up to a maximum of $28 (€25) per month. They will also receive $0.50 (€0.40) for each kilometre during their non-commute bike journeys.  

The trial accepts up to 1,000 participants with bicycles equipped with a tracking device recording the length of their commute.

With the new incentive, Bari’s mayor Antonio Decaro aims to “double the number of bicycles in the city” in 2019.

“By cycling, you’ll earn. It won’t only benefit your health,” he said when he announced the trial.  

The city wants to become more accessible to bikers, runners and pedestrians — UrdnotRonny / Shutterstock Bari to pay residents to commute on bikes Bari bikes
The city wants to become more accessible to bikers, runners and pedestrians — UrdnotRonny / Shutterstock

Not only will the city pay its inhabitants for cycling, but it has also launched funding for people buying bicycles. Bari will pay $113 (€100) for a used bike, $170 (€150) for a new one, and $282 (€250) for an electronic bicycle.

Copenhagen served as an inspiration

With its flat landscape and warm weather almost all year long, Bari has ideal conditions to become a cycling superpower. However, the city is currently struggling with traffic and so far there is no joined-up cycle lane network.

That is why the city is about to undergo a revamp of its congested seafront part. Bari has taken Copenhagen as an inspiration and aims to make its roads smaller and make the whole area more accessible to bikers, runners and pedestrians.

Despite being the first city in Italy to come up with such a measure, Bari is not the only place in Europe paying its citizens to commute on bikes. In 2014, Paris launched a similar experiment in which residents were paid for using bikes instead of cars.