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Will roughly £1 a month in vouchers be an incentive?

It’s well known that cycling instead of driving can save you money - but what if it can actually make you money?

That’s what a new scheme being rolled out in Greenwich, south east London, is trying to do, with the council announcing an app that tracks walking and cycling.

The BetterPoints smartphone app will tot up distances walked or pedalled, and convert them into points which can be cashed in for vouchers for high-street shops or donated to charity.

The Greenwich LEN (Low Emission Neighbourhood) project will be sending out representatives from the Charlton Athletic Community Trust, who will help local people get started with the app and reduce reliance on their cars.

The ambitious programme intends to reduce car usage by 7 per cent, while increasing the rate of walking to work by 10 per cent and cycling to work by 15 per cent.

Councillor Danny Thorpe, deputy leader at Greenwich Council, told the News Shopper: “Tackling air pollution is a huge and complex one and the challenges of reducing emissions and combating the causes of climate change is not one we can do alone.

“The LEN project is helping us to the test out a host of ideas designed to help improve air quality in west Greenwich and the Peninsula.”

Barbara Charles, who lives on the Meridian Estate in west Greenwich, said: “It’s great to be working with the Council to try to combat air quality at a local level.

“The project should raise awareness of the issue of air pollution and that everyone can do their own bit to help.

“I’m hoping CACT will put on a walking bus to the Valley, although I shouldn’t say that, seeing as I’m a Tottenham supporter.”

BetterPoints rewards you for 150 minutes of exercise per week at 2 points per minute for the first 150 minutes of walking, cycling or running in a calendar week.

There is a maximum earning of 300 points per week.

1,000 points can be exchanged for a £1 voucher in a range of high street shops

Recently we reported on another handy app for cyclists, Text To Ticket, which is a mobile app that will see its users paid $5 for submitting videos of people using mobile phones while driving.

But before you start pondering how big a house you’ll buy with the proceeds, it’s worth pointing out two things: the app is currently US-only and every sighting has to be verified.

The start-up responsible is hoping to roll out the app internationally and nor is the second of those two points too much of a stumbling block – verification is more straightforward than you might think.

The app automatically tracks the user’s location, date, time, longitude, latitude and other legally required information while the user is recording the violation. The information is then encrypted and digitally signed and sent to local agencies. If the driver is charged, you get your cash reward.

Videos must clearly show the driver using a mobile device and must also clearly capture the vehicle’s registration plate. The developers also make it clear: “We do NOT accept any videos from drivers recording other drivers at any time!”

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

12 comments

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brooksby [2709 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

It's not the most generous of points schemes, is it? As a comparison, I wonder how much money the council will get for selling on the anonymised movement data?

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Woldsman [207 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Best check out those privacy zone settings, eh kids?

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DrJDog [432 posts] 4 months ago
5 likes

I walked 200 yards to the coop thriving the week. Arrived to find my neighbour parking up. She drove there. She wasn't going anywhere else before or after. I was unreasonably cross.

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BetterNever [14 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Is this news? I work in Greenwich and had stuff through about this a year ago. Looked like a waste of time then and still looks like a waste of time now due to the hassle and concerns about having to use their smartphone app to track every journey and the pitiful rewards. Guess it proved to be a waste of time for plenty of other people and this is their attempt to relaunch it. Give it another year and they'll have shuttered it.

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Ramuz [311 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

A web of local/district centres offering a healthy array of services is an important, but easily overlooked, component of a sustainable urban mobility model, in which daily trips and errands can easily be carried out by cycle.

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NoSoSlimTim [7 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

Greenwich should spend some money on decent cycle parking facilities at their offices.  The more of their employees would already be riding their cycles to work.

Cycle parking at Birchmere Depot is a disgrace.

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handlebarcam [1064 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes

So residents of Greenwich have a choice of benefits:

 * If they drive, they can get a resident's parking permit for basically the cost of the admin, entitling them to several square meters of public space, in one of the highest land-value cities on the planet, in which to store their private vehicle.

 * If they cycle, they can get £1 a month off crap at Argos, probably.

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NoSoSlimTim [7 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Here is a picture of the cycle parking at Greenwich Council's Birchmere Depot SE28.

Nice big car park if you bring your car though.

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BehindTheBikesheds [992 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes

total bollocks.

Now, if they'd said you can have the same subsidy car drivers get (currently over £1000/yr), would have parking all over the place, some of it fully covered out of the elements, routes that made it easy to get to your destination without ever having to stop at every side road nor worry about pedestrians walking out in front of you without looking frequently and that other road users would get out of your way or not be on your route at all then people might actually switch to riding a bike.

Some schools offered a reward scheme but failed because the school insisted on kids having to wear a helmet to get the reward.

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brooksby [2709 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

total bollocks.

Now, if they'd said you can have the same subsidy car drivers get (currently over £1000/yr), would have parking all over the place, some of it fully covered out of the elements, routes that made it easy to get to your destination without ever having to stop at every side road nor worry about pedestrians walking out in front of you without looking frequently and that other road users would get out of your way or not be on your route at all then people might actually switch to riding a bike.

Some schools offered a reward scheme but failed because the school insisted on kids having to wear a helmet to get the reward.

Hear-hear! laugh

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LastBoyScout [332 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes
DrJDog wrote:

I walked 200 yards to the coop during the week. Arrived to find my neighbour parking up. She drove there. She wasn't going anywhere else before or after. I was unreasonably cross.

Yeah - she could at least have offered you a lift  4

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LastBoyScout [332 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Saw something similar similar on offer near where I live.

Having looked at the app, the rewards and uncertainty on the boundaries and other things, I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole!