E-bike rebate program inundated with applications

E-bike rebate program inundated with applications

Inside Victoria Electric Bicycles, sold tags are becoming more and more prevalent on bikes.

With the provincial government introducing a new e-bike rebate last week, stores have been inundated with inquiries and new customers.

“It’s been really fun for us because a lot of people who normally couldn’t come in are able to come in look at bikes, and it’s just opened a lot of gates for people to have access to really great bikes as well,” says Victoria Electric Bikes employee Alexandra Robertson.

The rebate provides between $350 to $1400 based on an individual’s income.

As of Monday morning, the program has received 27,000 applications, 4,000 of which are currently being assessed for eligibility.

Twenty-three thousand applicants have been placed on a waitlist, with the program’s website saying there is no guarantee they will receive a rebate.

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Rob Fleming said in a statement to CHEK News that “The massive success of this program is unprecedented. By lowering the cost of e-bikes, we’re helping to make efficient, emissions-free travel more affordable for people across B.C.”

In Victoria, non-profit cycling advocacy groups like Capital Bike say that there isn’t just a financial incentive to trade in four wheels for two.

“In an urban area, the ability to put more cargo in your bike, maybe put your kids and also just to be able to travel longer distances,” says Capital Bike Policy and Infrastructure Chair Corey Burger.

“If you’re commuting in from the Westshore into downtown or UVic, that e-bike lets you take that time in a pretty competitive time with a car.”

With the long wait times, Burger says that in the future, priority should be given to those with low incomes or with disabilities who might need extra funding.

“We do know that if you do need to ride an adaptive bike or you need something like that, those tend to be more expensive, and some of those are really expensive.”

As the waitlist grows, so too does the demand from potential riders in the ongoing effort to get more British Columbians mobile.

Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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