French commuters to be paid for riding to work

French workers to be paid for cycling

Workers at companies in France could soon get paid for pedalling to work, under a new scheme called “plan vélo”, the English language newspaper The Local says.

Transport Minister Fredéric Culliver announced a raft of measures this week to get people out of cars and on to the greener two-wheel mode of transport, in a bid to improve people’s health and the environment.

The stand-out proposal is a plan to encourage companies to reimburse staff between 21 and 25 centimes per kilometre – about 32-39 Australian cents a kilometre – by cutting payroll charges for the business.

The minister is looking to try the proposal through a number of volunteer firms.

About 5 per cent of employees cycle to work and the aim is to at least double that.

The idea of compensating cyclists for the mileage they travel to work was first put forward under the previous government in 2012.

Similar schemes in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany have been fairly successful, television network TF1 reports.

Mr Culliver said exempting companies from payroll charges in exchange for their participation in the scheme could leave the social security system with a €110 million shortfall.

However, because workers got vital exercise while commuting the scheme would have definite health benefits and in turn end up saving the health service money.

Around 17 million people in France get on a bike once a week and around three million use it as transport every day. In recent weeks, a petition on the internet calling for mandatory compensation for those who cycled to work has garnered thousands of signatures. Campaigners say it would increase the number of people getting on bikes by 50 per cent.

However, the scheme was greeted with a certain amount of scepticism on twitter.

One said: “Ah, the government want to have a ‘plan vélo’ to go to work. That’s really nice. We need a ‘plan jobs’ first perhaps.”

No mention was made of paying public servants who ride.

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