With more than 3.7 million disabled people working in the UK, you would quite rightly think that there was adequate access to public transport to enable this important sector of the workforce to get to and from work. However, many disabled people are finding access to public transport difficult.
Think for a moment of the potential if commuting was made easier. The Government has set a target of 4.5 million people in employment with disabilities by 2027. This will require a solution to their problematic commutes.
With an extra 800,000 disabled people to be in employment within the next 8 years, a solution is required and pretty quick. How many of these 800,000 disabled people are currently put off from employment because they don’t know how to tackle their commute?
If public transport is often inaccessible and car ownership not possible, then a commute by cycle might be the solution. An estimated 19% of working age adults have a disability and for many people with mobility issues, cycling is often easier than walking. According to research from Transport for London, 78% of disabled people are able to cycle and the cycles are often used as mobility aids.
One quarter of disabled people feel they frequently have little choice or control over their daily lives but if they choose to cycle to work, then the whole commute from start to finish is under their control.
With cycling standing out as a clear solution to the commuting issue, how do we remove the cost of the cycle as a barrier?
Green Commute Initiative is the only inclusive cycle-to-work scheme on which any bike can be bought as there is no £1,000 spending limit. In addition, employees will save between 32% and 47% on a new cycle. The cycles are acquired through monthly salary sacrifices, so the cost is spread over manageable monthly instalments. So, a cycle costing £3,000 could cost the user only £85 a month over a 24-month period, saving a massive £960 in the process.
What this means is that E-bikes, cargo bikes and specialist cycles/trikes can be acquired through the scheme. Specialist cycles can easily have a price tag in the region of £3,000 which means they are not available on other cycle-to-work schemes which have the traditional £1,000 limit.
By using GCI, employers no longer have to make separate arrangements or exclude disabled employees from their cycle-to-work schemes. Inclusivity is the way forward.
Cycles bought through GCI don’t just have to be used for commuting to work. As long as the majority (over 50%) of use is for commuting, then the rest of time the cycle can be used for leisure activities or just going about everyday life.
For individuals, getting a cycle through GCI allows them to take control over their employment and commuting choices. Difficult commutes will no longer be obstacles when applying for jobs.
Tomcat, is one of the UK’s most innovative specialist trike manufacturers and has changed the lives of many who thought that cycling was entirely beyond their reach. Tomcat has acted as an advisor to GCI, helping them understand how it’s cycle to work scheme could work within the disabled sector. Also advising GCI was Wheels for Wellbeing, the national charity which campaigns for inclusive cycling. Both parties ensured that GCI’s communications materials were on-message and both agreed that the scheme has a lot to offer disabled cyclists, and those with mobility issues, who wish to commute to work on a cycle. Scope, the national disability charity, will also be giving information on Green Commute Initiative, when appropriate, as part of its Inclusive Workplace Network, which aims to help employers become disability friendly.