The federal government is providing a financial boost to the City of San Francisco’s e-bike pilot program for food delivery drivers.

San Francisco launched its e-bike pilot program last year in an attempt to meet its climate goals. The California Energy Commission gave the City a $2.4 million grant to establish the program. The City used the funds to purchase 30 e-bikes for food app delivery drivers.

Now, the US Department of Energy has given the San Francisco Department of Environment a further $600,000 grant to expand the program.

With this additional funding, the number of delivery drivers eligible for free e-bikes will expand from 30 to 60. The extra funds will also help the City conduct further research into the impact of e-bikes on deliveries, worker earnings, and safety.

The selection of drivers will be based on two waves of applications: one from last spring and another opening in early 2024.

Chosen drivers will receive a set of equipment, including helmets, locks, saddle bags, and bikes. In return, they will provide feedback through surveys and have their shift metrics analyzed. According to the San Francisco Examiner, shift metrics include factors like work duration, travel routes, and earnings evaluation.

E-bikes are a frequently neglected tool in the fight against climate change. Globally, e-bikes and e-mopeds are cutting oil use by 300% more than electric cars, according to a recent report.

If e-bikes were to replace cars as the mode of transportation for 25% of short trips in America’s 10 largest cities, the US would reduce its CO2 emissions by over 1.8 million metric tons per year. This would be equivalent to cutting gasoline consumption by over 208 million gallons per year.

San Francisco’s pilot program will also help delivery drivers to increase their income. As of 2019, full-time US food app delivery drivers earned an average of $25,750 per year. This is close to the federal poverty line for a four-person household.

The free e-bikes will help drivers who can’t afford cars to make far more deliveries than they could on pedal bicycles. The more deliveries drivers make, the more money they earn.

Image Source: Biking Public Project