Yes, it sounds counter-productive for an automotive manufacturer, but General Motors is implementing a bike share program that will help its 19,000 employees commute both on- and off-campus. GM is teaming up with Zagster, a bike sharing company that has developed similar programs for other businesses.
“GM is investing not only in the long-term health and productivity of its workforce, but sending a strong message to other employers around the country that bike sharing is a mainstream transportation option for employees,” says co-founder and CEO of Zagster, Timothy Ericson.
This is how it works: An employee registers online, then reserves a bike via text message or a smart phone app that gives an access code to unlock a lock box for the bike. Each bike comes with a laptop-friendly basket that will help your electronic devices arrive at your meeting in one piece (provided that you don’t spill or get doored), and a bell to alert errant pedestrians to watch where they’re going. However, civil libertarians will be disappointed to learn that riders must wear helmets.
Apparently, GM employees are happy with the idea, which started with a pilot program for 50 Tech Center employees a month ago. Now, everyone on campus can participate. Says designing engineer John Waechter, “This is an awesome idea. I can’t wait to quickly get to meetings without walking to a car and finding parking. This is good for exercise, good for on-campus mobility, and a nice way to actually learn more about non-auto transportation.”
GM’s program expands Zagster’s service that already exists in Detroit and has been used by more than 2,750 users in the past year. Adds GM Director of Sustainability, David Tulauskas, “GM is transforming transportation with our products, plants, people, and partnerships. This bike sharing program is a great example of engaging our employees through this first-of-its kind partnership and also helps them look at transportation in a different way than we traditionally have.”