FAQs: The Green Commute Initiative

In today's world, where environmental concerns are at the forefront of public consciousness, the way we commute to work has come under scrutiny. Conventional modes of transport have a significant impact on our environment. In response to these concerns, many organisations and individuals are looking for sustainable alternatives, and one such mode of transport that is becoming increasingly popular is the electric bike.

Electric bikes promote eco-friendly transportation by reducing carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels; they encourage physical activity, helping riders keep active and stay fit; and they ease congestion, making urban travel more efficient. However, there's no denying that the upfront cost of an electric bike can be a deterrent for many potential buyers. Starting at an average price of £1,477, it's an investment that not everyone can readily make. But fear not; there's a fantastic initiative, called Green Commute Initiative, that can help you make your ebike dreams a reality.

What is Green Commute Initiative?

Green Commute Initiative (GCI) is a UK-based scheme that encourages sustainable commuting. It's designed to help individuals and employers transition to greener, healthier, and more cost-effective modes of transportation by promoting cycling as a primary means of commuting. GCI enables employees to hire a bike and related accessories through a salary sacrifice arrangement, reducing their carbon footprint and promoting a healthier lifestyle.

How Does GCI Work? 

To kick things off, employers play a pivotal role in making GCI accessible to their employees. They can opt to register with GCI, effectively extending this fantastic scheme to their workforce. This registration is a significant step towards greener and more affordable commuting options for employees.

Once an employer has registered with GCI, it's time for employees to get in on the action. They can choose an electric bike and any necessary accessories to make their commute more comfortable and enjoyable. 

Salary Sacrifice Arrangement:

When employees choose their electric bike and accessories, they don't have to pay for them upfront. Instead, they enter into a “hire” agreement with GCI and a salary sacrifice arrangement with their employer. This salary sacrifice arrangement is where the magic happens, as the selected bike and accessories cost is deducted from the employee's pre-tax salary.

By having these costs deducted before tax is applied, employees stand to make significant tax savings. In essence, you're reducing the portion of your income that's subject to taxation, resulting in a reduced tax bill.

What Are the Benefits of GCI for Employers?

Green Commute Initiatives offer a range of advantages for employers, making it a win-win for both businesses and their employees:

  • Eco-Friendly Reputation: In an era where corporate social responsibility is paramount, supporting initiatives like GCI can bolster your company's image. Demonstrating a commitment to sustainability and reducing carbon footprints attracts environmentally-conscious customers and helps attract and retain like-minded talent.
  • Tax Benefits: Employers can also reap financial rewards through GCI as they save on reduced employer National Insurance payments on the value of the bike package.

What Type of Bikes Can Be Hired Through GCI?

GCI offers great flexibility when it comes to ebike selection. You can choose an electric bike that suits your commuting needs and preferences, whether it's for daily urban travel, off-road adventures, or a combination of both. The only requirement is that the bike should meet the Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPC) regulations, ensuring it's road-legal.

Who Will Own the Electric Bike?

When you purchase an electric bike through Green Commute Initiative, it's important to understand the ownership dynamics. During the hire period, the ebike is owned by GCI, but it is exclusively reserved for your use. This arrangement ensures that the eBike is yours to enjoy as your own.

Following the first year, GCI continues to support you by offering an extended free loan designed to maintain the tax benefits. After this period, a nominal processing fee of just £1 is required to transfer ownership of the eBike into your name officially. This simple step allows you to own the eBike outright, all while remaining compliant with HMRC's regulations. 

Are Bike Accessories Included? 

Your voucher can also be used to purchase a range of bike accessories, including essential items like bike helmets to ensure your safety during rides. Cycling lights are another fantastic addition, particularly if you find yourself biking during dawn or dusk, and for those who require additional storage, pannier racks can be included, allowing you to transport your belongings effortlessly. GPS devices and bike computers are not permitted.

Is There a Price Limit for Green Commuting Initiative?

One of the key advantages of Green Commute Initiative, is the absence of a £1,000 price limit on the bike you can choose. 

Furthermore, Green Commute Initiative is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This designation brings an added benefit: the employer does not have to navigate the often complex and time-consuming process of obtaining authorisation for the program if the chosen ebike exceeds the £1,000 threshold. This convenience can save both time and effort for the employer, making it an even more appealing option for promoting green commuting in the workplace. 

How Much Money Can I Save Through GCI? 

By using this salary sacrifice scheme to purchase a new electric bike, you can save between 32 and 47% of the price of the bike in comparison to buying the bike outright with your net salary.  The amount you save depends on your tax bracket.

Is it Complicated to Set up a scheme with GCI?

Setting up a Cycle to Work scheme might sound complicated, but it's quite straightforward. The process is designed to be hassle-free and ensure compliance with HMRC regulations, taking the burden of administrative tasks off your shoulders.

To get started, all you need to do is have a conversation with your employer to agree the maximum amount you can spend and over what period of time you make payments back to your employer. Once you've agreed on the terms, sign the necessary contracts, and you're good to go.

Is GCI available everywhere?

GCI is available across the UK and has over 1,500 bike shops registered to accept its vouchers. Use GCI’s Shop Finder on its website to find your nearest participating bike shop.

If you're ready to embark on this eco-friendly journey and choose the perfect electric bike for your commuting needs, we encourage you to visit our store in Weston-Super-Mare. We offer a wide range of electric bikes, making it easy to find the ideal ride that suits your lifestyle. With eBike UFO, you'll not only have access to high-quality electric bikes, but also expert guidance to help you make the best choice.

Not able to see us in store?

Visit our website for more information or give our friendly team a call today at 01934 644988.