A “fast pass” for bike commuters? The idea may sound strange, but in light of the Federal Bicycle Commuter Act signed into law in 2008–which allows employers to give employees who commute by bike a monthly tax free stipend of up $20–it actually makes plenty of sense. After all, when there’s real money involved, it makes sense to move beyond the honor system.
The new Dero ZAP was created to provide companies, universities, government institutions and other organizations with a reliable, tamper proof way to accurately count, track and issue a report on bike commuter trips. Modeled after the “fast pass” systems used by federal vanpools and transit commuters on toll roads, the New Dero ZAP is a solar powered, wifi connected, radio frequency identification system (RFID) that records the number of times a commuter arrives by bike, then transmits the data via wifi to a website that administrators can then access to create their payroll reports. Every time a commuter rolls past the read zone of a New Dero ZAP device (at work or school) it recognizes the tag which is registered to a specific employee and updates that commuter’s file.
This looks like an excellent way for companies and other organizations to create a “rewards biking” system for employees. After all, another $240 a year never hurt anyone–and the amount of healthy exercise generated by biking, along with the greenhouse emissions avoided, would be good for everyone’s health. (Dero, the company that makes this system, also points out that there may be additional health insurance reimbursement opportunities for bike commuters, similar to health club reimbursement programs set up by employers.)