Infrastructure Victoria has proposed a paid ride to work scheme to get more people on bikes and reduce traffic congestion in the COVID-normal world.
A report from the advisory body has found that the number of daily car trips could increase by 15 per cent on pre-COVID levels, with many trips less than five kilometres long.
The increased traffic would clog inner Melbourne and blow out travel times. Motor vehicle travel speeds could reduce to less than 20km/h at some times.
To reduce the number of people driving cars and keep public transport operating with physical distancing, Infrastructure Victoria has made recommendations that include permanent off-peak public transport fares, removing the free tram zone and encouraging bike riding.
Along with improving the bike network to make more people feel comfortable riding a bike, a financial incentive to choose active transport over private car or public transport has been suggested.
Bicycle Network has previously proposed paid ride to work schemes to the federal government, asking for people to be paid $5 every day they ride a bike to work.
Similar schemes operate in many European countries where people either receive payments for their rides or reduced costs in riding expenses such as new bikes, parts, maintenance and clothing.
Infrastructure Victoria suggest the scheme could work through a discount on the payroll tax (or direct payment) for employers whose employees are paid an allowance to ride to work, or a simple payment from the government to people who ride.
Bike trips reduce travel times for all
The report also showed that if more people took up riding and walking, travel times would reduce for all.
Infrastructure Victoria's modelling found that an increase of more than 142,000 daily bike trips, from and within inner Melbourne, combined with increased walking trips, would result in a reduction of 40,000 delay hours (time stuck in congestion).
It shows that a paid ride to work scheme would not only benefit riders, but also people who must continue to drive.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.