Vapaus Bikes Finland Oy

42 percent of benefit bike users have reduced their car use in Finland

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A new employee bicycle benefit will be available in April. It is offered by Edenred, Finland's most used employee benefit service, and bike benefit provider Vapaus.

Benefit bike user in Finland
Benefit bike user in Finland Vapaus

There are now fewer company cars than benefit bikes in Finland

  • A new employee bicycle benefit will be available in April. It is offered by Edenred, Finland's most used employee benefit service, and bike benefit provider Vapaus.
  • 42% of benefit bike users have reduced their driving in Finland
  • 43% of benefit bike users have significantly increased their cycling in Finland

Having access to a benefit bike has reduced car use for 42% of its users, while significantly increasing cycling for 43% of those who have obtained benefit bikes.

The survey data is based on the responses to a user survey conducted by Vapaus Bikes Finland Oy in March 2024, where a total of 4,633 benefit bike users responded to the survey. Everyone taking advantage of the employee bicycle benefit through Vapaus had the opportunity to participate in the study. More detailed research results and analysis will be published in the State of the Benefit Bikes in Finland barometer later in the spring.

"By far the most common mode of transport in Finland is the private car. On average, cars are driven about 29 kilometers per day. If car use is to be reduced, we need more diverse alternatives. 56% of benefit bike users estimate that cycling has had a positive effect on their health," says Jacob Segercrantz, CEO of Edenred. Edenred is the most used employment service provider in the country. 

“The results of our study show that benefit bikes lower the threshold for everyday cycling. Many say that both their mental and physical well-being and fitness in general, have improved on their own accord, as more and more daily mobility and commuting is transitioned to bicycles purchased with the help of the employee bicycle benefit”, continues Tero Era, CEO of Vapaus.

The bike benefit is already more common than the car benefit

At the beginning of this year, more people opted for benefit bikes than the company car benefit. The number of benefit bikes has in fact grown rapidly in relation to company cars.

"The bike benefit was first available in 2021. At the end of the first year, the Finnish Tax Administration's Incomes Register recorded the number of people receiving car and bicycle benefits as 11,055. The following year, the number was tripled. Last December, the bicycle benefit already surpassed the car benefit, as 67,793 people were using the bicycle benefit and 67,541 the car benefit. The driving force behind this growth is that the bike benefit is accessible for a wider group of people compared to the car benefit," says Segercrantz.

There is a lot of potential for cycling in cities because distances are reasonable. State funding has been purposefully directed to transport planning that supports sustainable modes of transportation, i.e. pedestrian, cycling and public transportation.

Cycling remains the same, but commuting is not

Improved cycle path networks, increased interest in carbon-neutral mobility and healthier lifestyles have increased commuting by bike in many cities. In Oulu, where people travel by bike the most, about 20% of any mobility is done by bike. People in the Joensuu and Jyväskylä regions are also more likely to get on their bikes compared to the national average.

"The bike is used extensively for outdoor activities and exercise, but by far its most popular use is commuting. A quarter of all bike trips are commute-related, Segercrantz says.

The use of bicycles for commuting increased significantly during the coronavirus pandemic. The total amount of cycling did not grow much, because, at the same time as commuting increased, leisure time use decreased. This data is derived from Traficom's monitoring of the mode of transport share, as part of the national passenger traffic survey for 2021 and 2022.

At the beginning of April, Edenred will offer a bicycle benefit

Finland's most popular company offering employee benefits, Edenred, will start offering the bicycle benefit during April. It is a tax-free benefit for the employee up to 1,200 euros per year.  Edenred partners up with Vapaus, which offers employee benefit bikes, and you can choose either an e-bike or a regular bike as a benefit bike.

"The employer is responsible for purchasing the bike, and the bike benefit is offered in cooperation with the leasing partner. Many people buy a higher quality bike with the help of the bike benefit than what they would normally buy without the benefit," Segercrantz says.

“The cooperation with Edenred is part of our goal of promoting more sustainable and healthy mobility in work communities everywhere. The results of our user study speak for themselves – the bike benefit is an advantage that brings real value to its users and thus to society as a whole. The Federation of European Cyclists (EFC) has calculated that the positive benefits of cycling in the world are already 150 billion euros, which is why it’s so important to get more people excited about cycling,” Era sums up.

The benefit bike is intended for the employee's personal use and in addition to commuting, it can also be acquired for leisure use only. In addition to the bike itself, the bicycle benefit also includes fixed equipment such as lights, locking and studded tyres. A helmet is also included in the bike benefit.

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About Vapaus

Vapaus is at the forefront of sustainable mobility services and has been a pioneer in the Employee Benefit Bikes sector since late 2020. Vapaus boasts a mature and scalable business model, evident in its remarkable growth trajectory from €4.5 million in net revenues in 2021 to an impressive €30+ million in 2023. The business is already approaching breakeven. Vapaus has been ranked 19th among Finland's 100 fastest-growing companies and was selected among four gold winners in the 5th edition of the European Startup Prize for Mobility, out of over 700 applicants.

Vapaus has successfully automated the entire process through its technology platform covering payroll, invoicing, logistics, insurance, and financing. Vapaus focuses on international expansion primarily to penetrate the Swedish market and invests heavily in platform automation, which improves the overall user experience.

About Edenred Finland

Edenred Finland is a leading provider of employee benefits and a pioneer in mobile payments. Edenred offers its customers the most comprehensive engagement and reward solutions – all under one roof. The product selection includes lunch, sports and culture, massage, commuting, dental, and bike benefits, as well as Delicard® gift cards. Edenred Finland serves 500.000 beneficiaries, 18.000 corporate clients and 30.000 service providers. Edenred Finland is part of the international Edenred Group with 12.000 employees in 45 countries.

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