18 Sep 19

Greener and faster with leased bikes

Swapfiets provides its customers with leased bikes which get swapped whenever required. We had a chat with Arno Smit, manager operations Netherlands and Belgium at delivery company Takeaway, about their experiences with Swapfiets.

Swapfiets provides bicycles against a fixed monthly fee. If your bike breaks down, you can contact the Swapdesk, the customer service, via phone, mail or Whatsapp. The Swapdesk comes to you within 24 hours to fix the bike or swap it to a functioning one, wherever the employee wants. This can be at home, at the office or just a random location in the city. As a result, you are always assured of a working bicycle and back on the road again in no time. 

What are the mobility modes you offer to employees? 

‘We offer different kinds of mobility in the different countries where we operate in in continental Europe. Mostly we offer e-bikes, scooters and cars, both company-owned and employee-owned. For instance, in Austria, the Netherlands, and in Belgium we only have e-bikes, whereas in Bulgaria we have a lot of cars (both company- as employee-owned ones), which depends on the distances that have to be covered, and the weather. The starting point matters as well. Bulgaria, for instance, comes from a car-only culture, so we start with cars only. In addition, road safety is also important  to consider the best-suited mobility mode.’  

Why did you start using Swapfiets? 

‘Because they are greener and more flexible. In cities like Amsterdam, for instance, an e-bike is faster than a car.’ 

How many bicycles do you use in your company? 

‘Around 3,000, operating in almost all of the 100+ cities we operate in, with the big cities being Berlin, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam. However in these cities we are using leased bikes, in some smaller cities employees use their own bike to perform their deliveries. Yet, in the end we want most of them to ride on our leased bikes, because it looks better, it is safer, they are well-maintained and we know what they are riding on.’

What kind of bikes are you using? 

‘All 3,000 are e-bikes. We have some push-bikes, but not a lot. We want to have the best product, hence the fastest bike, so we have e-bikes. Only in the Netherlands we have some push-bikes, but we doubt that is the way to go. For instance, if you have a day of 8 hours, an e-bike is more comfortable for the driver.’ 

Can your employees use them on to come to work or in their free time as well? 

‘Due to different legislation, we let our employees come to the hub where they get a bike and start operating on it.’

Why did you start working with Swapfiets?

‘Because quality is very important to us, and Swapfiets delivers high-quality and good service. They deliver the bikes within 24 hours, and they operate in all cities we operate in as well.’

Do you have some advice to share with other companies willing to start to use Swapfiets or corporate cycling? 

  • Use bike leasing rather than buying the bikes outright, considering the maintenance needed for e-bikes.
  • Make good agreements with bike suppliers. Because in the past we’ve seen that if you don’t make the right agreements, you need more bikes, because they get broken; and if they only deliver maintenance once a week, you have a lot of bikes out of order, so you need more of them in the end. So you need this good agreement, and you have to ensure they live up to it.
Authored by: Fien Van den steen