vienna cargo bikes
Vienna doubles down on cargo bikes

The Austrian capital's subsidised cargo bike rental scheme is going gangbusters, but that is not enough decarbonising for the city: it is now handing over whopping grants for you to buy your own pedal-powered version of a van, wagon or people mover.

From this month the City of Vienna will hand over up to $1400 towards a new cargo bike for the family.

And if electric assist is your thing, they will spark you up with a grant of up to $1800.

The reimbursement is for up to 50 per cent of the purchase price for any cargo approved bike, up to these maximums.

The scheme will be open for two years, or until the $500,000 fund is exhausted.

Authorities in Europe have realised that subsidising the ownership of, and rental of, cargo bikes is one of the most cost effective ways of reducing car trips, and the CO2 emissions that result.

Many citizens have purchased a car, not because they need it to get to work or school, but because they figure they will one day need to move some stuff. Then they end up driving the car when they don’t really need to because they have already invested in it.

Now, with a cargo bike at home or for rent nearby, they realise they no longer need that car; they move stuff in the cargo bike. 

So they ride much more and drive much less. And the climate loves it.

The city is also expanding its fleet of Grätzlräder free-to-borrow cargo bikes to 342 bikes, and they will be available from a greater range of rental hubs.

Recently the City of Vienna also introduced subsidies for companies of up to $6950 per cargo bike to further accelerate towards it’s ambitious goal for commercial transport to be largely CO2 free by 2030.

Subsidies are available for electric cargo bikes and electric trailers with a payload of more than 40 kilograms. 

Funding is also provided for adjustments to meet special usage requirements (superstructures, transport boxes, etc.), the installation of data trackers and additional batteries. 

E-cargo bikes must be powered by renewable energy sources.

Companies, entrepreneurial organisations, public authorities and associations can apply for the subsidy scheme.

Another scheme will make shared cargo bikes available to housing estates.

Related: Vienna shares the load