Durango's E‑bike Success
This summer, sixteen frontline essential workers who were impacted by the pandemic were given e‑bikes to commute to and from work. The pilot program, called Roll to Restaurants, was made possible by a $50,000 grant from the Colorado Energy Office. It was managed by Four Corners Office for Resource Efficiency (4CORE) in Durango, who chose to focus on individuals who were greatly impacted in their local community. Sixteen e‑bikes and accessories were given to income-qualifying* restaurant workers to increase access to e‑bikes, reduce emissions and show that e‑bikes can be a convenient way to replace vehicle trips around town. It will also help Durango towards its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 (from 2016 levels), with an interim goal of a 30% reduction by 2030.
E‑bike participants are able to use these bikes free of charge, with the option to enter into a loan-to-own program. The only catch? Log your rides and information about each trip in an app, providing data on how the e‑bikes are being used, and recording potential carbon emissions savings from commuting by e‑bike. The e‑bikes were deployed in waves, so some participants already officially own their bikes, whereas others will own theirs later this fall. This program will continue into the summer of 2023 and 4CORE will check in with participants and offer free tune ups and maintenance as needed.
So far, 4CORE has had great feedback from the participants who are using their e‑bikes to travel all over Durango. They're also making it accessible, by providing Spanish translation for the program with help from Compañeros. For the month of August, 46% of all trips were made by e‑bikes (vs. only 19% in a car alone), 152 car trips were replaced by e‑bikes and over 400lbs of CO2 was saved.
Here's what e‑bike participants have to say:
"The ebike has made commuting easier. The trip takes about the same amount of time as on my regular bike, but I arrive relaxed and ready to work instead of sweaty and tired." — David "When I do ride it, it feels so good knowing I am doing something proactive to help sustain the environment longer. It’s helped replace going to work on the days that I would usually car pool with others." — Abbey "I love love love riding She-ra (her eBike) everywhere I go in town!! I definitely prefer riding her to driving my car, so I only use my car when I’m taking my dog somewhere or moving a bunch of stuff." — Mariah https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D48IkWn85oY*Income-qualified individuals must make less than $30,864 per year, i.e., less than 60% of the Colorado median income.For more information, read:4CORE's Roll to Restaurants Program Durango Herald news article