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A silver lining for State Department employees whose SmartBenefits subsidy for transit just dropped: Go ride a bike and you’ll get $20 a month. The Post reports:
The State Department today kicks off a plan to cut checks to employees to leave their cars at home. Workers can get up to $240 a year in the program to trade their gas-guzzling transportation modes for the self-propelled kind—so long as they’re riding “pedaled” bikes (no hogs or scooters, that is) and not enrolled in the agency’s other transportation subsidies, like the ones that subsidize their Metro trips or parking.
The money will cover bike repairs and “expenses,” the agency says.
“The purpose of the Bicycle Reimbursement Program is to reduce traffic congestion and pollution, as well as to promote wellness among federal employees,” says a memo circulated around the department.
The 2010 federal report that recommended the subsidy does note that there’s more to getting people to bike than money: “The most often cited reasons for not riding are fear of traffic, no access to a bike or a place to ride, lack of secure parking, the weather, and distance.” The report has recommendations for agencies that wish to address those issues as well—-like showers and lockers, safety education, emergency rides home, and fun bike challenges—-all of which might be even more useful than giving workers cash.
Photo by JamesCalder via Flickr/Creative Commons Generic Attribution 2.0 License