Shared operator Beryl’s corporate partnerships are driving a surge in employee cycling, reshaping commutes and reducing emissions.
Avara Foods – one of the UK’s largest food businesses supplying supermarkets and restaurants – is one such partner making impressive steps.
The firm has got its staff cycling so much that its use of ICE vehicles has dropped 24%, eradicating more than 8,000 car journeys a year.
“It’s all about giving people more options,” Beryl’s Strategic Partnerships Lead Ben Lee tells Zag Daily.
“My main goal is to enable individuals, corporate partners, and employees to see that cycling is a viable mode of transport and it’s possible to live without a private car.
“In the case of Avara Foods, they’re a really forward-thinking company. They wanted a more active, happy and productive workforce, but on the most basic level it’s also just incredibly practical for them.”
Based in the small rural city of Hereford, England, Avara Foods may not seem the most obvious choice for bike share.
“When people think about public bike sharing, they think of London or Manchester, not smaller areas like Hereford. It’s actually the perfect place. Even small enough to cycle from one side to the other.”
Avara has two sites in Hereford that sit about a mile apart. When employees found themselves driving the distance multiple times a day, the company decided to partner with Beryl to get these trips out of cars and onto bikes.
“Not only did we provide the staff access to the bikes, we added a bay at the second site so employees can easily cycle from site to site.”
Two years into the partnership, a third of employees have used Beryl and more than 50% who use Beryl vehicles for business have reduced their usage of private cars. Most of these trips occur between 8am-5pm Monday to Friday indicating that employees are primarily using the bikes for work commutes.
Bikeshare is also proving its function as a preferred option for first and last mile journeys. Across all Beryl schemes, the percentage of riders connecting their Beryl trips with public transport increased from 29% in 2021 to 53% in 2022.
These compelling statistics are particularly valuable from an ESG perspective, serving as effective evidence of the company’s commitment to sustainable corporate responsibility.
“Many of the companies and organisations we work with have environmental commitments and they need to deliver on these green travel plans. We do whatever we can to deliver on those targets, KPIs and policies.”
Partnering with the NHS
Beryl isn’t only partnering with the commercial industries. It works with universities, colleges, and other organisations too. When asked what in his work makes him most proud, Ben says it is what they have achieved with the NHS.
“My mum was a nurse her whole life. My dad still works in public healthcare, so the NHS is a close organisation to my heart. During the peak of COVID, Beryl provided the NHS with free access. Since then, we’ve maintained a partnership with them.”
Kirsty Wavish, Green Plan Programme Manager at University Hospitals Plymouth, said: “The introduction of the Beryl Bikes at our Trust has been a welcome addition to our sustainable travel offering, helping our patients, visitors and staff travel to the hospital in a cleaner, healthier and more environmentally friendly way.”
Today, Beryl works with just under 80 companies across its various schemes. Having recently launched new schemes in major cities such as Birmingham, Brighton and Leeds, the company will be looking to at least double this over the next year to help boost active and sustainable commutes across the country.