The city of São Paulo in Brazil is full of hills, making it not the most bike-friendly city. That’s why when you order food there, it’s probably going to arrive via motorcycle, which is one of the main contributors to the city’s serious air pollution problem.
A new pilot from iFood (Brazil’s equivalent to DoorDash) is on a mission to remove the emissions from delivery by offering food couriers the opportunity to use electric bikes instead. Both jobs and food delivery are in high demand in São Paulo, providing a major economic opportunity during the pandemic.
As a part of the pilot, people who want to work delivery jobs but can’t afford a motorcycle can now use electric bikes, without needing enough money to buy one upfront. How it works is couriers in the iFood program take a short course on how to take care of the bikes—along with other basic instruction in delivery, including how to avoid COVID-19. Then they can pay a small subscription fee to check out a bike from a “support point” where they can rest between orders, charge mobile phones, or use the bathroom. They can also pick up a helmet, mask, and hand sanitizer. The electric bikes are also equipped with pedal assist, which is crucial for a hilly city.
With the new pilot, iFood hopes to encourage more women to start working as bike couriers while proving that zero-emissions bikes are just as effective as fossil fuel-burning motorcycles. For the latter point, the pilot will gather data to see where electric bikes are most feasible and effective within the city.
The pilot is starting small with just 20 electric bikes, but the plan is to boost that number to 500 by the end of the year. From there, the hope is to launch similar programs in hundreds of other cities where iFood operates.
Image source: iFood