Following a series of battery fires in New York City, e-bikes are being labeled as unsafe due to their use of cheap and uncertified batteries. As a result, Uber will fund a buy-back program for e-bikes to combat the battery fire issue in New York.
Among the worrisome situation in New York of e-bike fires leading to around a dozen deaths, Uber released an announcement in this regard. In order to get fire-prone batteries off the road, Uber says it will fund an e-bike buyback program for delivery workers in New York.
Also, to help delivery workers get an affordable and safer option to commute, the company says it will support an additional fee on food deliveries. Uber is working with Zoomo an e-bike company, and a non-profit organization, the Equitable Commute Project on two different trade-in-programs.
According to the company, older bikes can be traded for credit that the delivery workers can invest in their new e-bike. Also, they can assess rent-to-own pricing models along with priority repairs and services.
Although the amount to be credited for trading an old e-bike is still under discussion, Zoomo is expected to offer at least a minimum amount of $200 for the same.
According to authorities, an explosion in a lithium-ion battery led to the death of 2 children in Astoria, Queens on 10-April-2023. Recently, legislation was also passed by the New York City Council prohibiting the sales of uncertified e-bikes and other micromobility devices.
Mayor Eric Adams also called on private companies profiting from e-bike deliveries to work towards this issue. Senior director for public policy at Uber, Josh Gold, said in a statement, â€œDelivery workers should not have to choose between making a living and safety. These innovative partnerships will help get safer e-bikes into the hands of delivery workers.â€
Though Uber has not mentioned the budget of this buy-back program the company mentioned planning to donate $100,000 to the FDNY Foundation towards an e-bikes safety education campaign.
The company also stepped forward in supporting all food delivery workers in New York by giving a small fee to them to transition them to UL-certified e-bikes. In addition to it, the company said, â€œIt backs a bill in the New York State Legislature that would establish a â€˜clean rebate program’ for e-bikes.â€
Delivery workers are mostly low-income immigrants who rely on e-bikes to make their living. As per a study commissioned by Uber and conducted by WYX Studios, since 2020 the demand for e-bikes and other micromobility devices have increased tremendously.
More than 65,000 delivery workers in New York rely on e-bikes running on cheaper lithium-ion batteries that are the cause of fires and injuries.
According to the City Labor Statistics, UL-certified batteries are more expensive than uncertified ones and delivery workers earning just $7.09 per hour find it difficult to afford a certified battery of $1,000 or more.
Recently Mayor Eric Adams announced that all ride hall vehicles operating in the city will have to be electric by 2030 and praised Uber for stepping up the plate to help this initiative in a major way.
Mayor Adams said, â€œE-bikes have become a critical part of our transportation and employment ecosystem, but faulty and non-certified devices are making their way into homes and apartments, causing fires and putting lives at risk.â€ Therefore, in this regard, Uber will fund a buy-back program for e-bikes to combat the battery fire issue in New York.
Source: Streetsblog NYC