Items filtered by date: April 2022

 

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 For our ‘Meet the Operator’ series this month, we’ve taken a slightly different take as we talked to Dan Parsons, founding partner, and Head of B2B at Fully Charged, a specialist electric bike retailer based in London Bridge, with a focus on regular eBikes for commuting and leisure purposes and cargo bikes for businesses large and small. Unlike many other cargo bike retailers, Fully Charged have their own dedicated service centre at their central London showroom, to help riders and businesses keep their bikes on the road and in tip-top condition.

After launching as a pop-up in Old Street tube station in 2014, Fully Charged now have four stores across the UK and have even launched their own YouTube channel. Find out more about the retailer, and their team, in our interview.

 

Who are Fully Charged?

In short, we’re a specialist electric bike retailer, and have been operating since 2014. Ben Jaconelli originally launched Fully Charged as a pop-up shop in Old Street tube station. A lot of people thought he was mad to launch a bike shop in a tube station away from cyclists, but what Ben wanted to do was to appeal to people who were not cyclists, realising early on that eBikes were great at getting people’s attention and getting them started or back into cycling.

We now have five sites across the UK; London Bridge, Silverstone (a stone’s throw from the British Grand Prix), Cornwall and Guildford. Our London Bridge branch has an eBike showroom and the UK’s largest dedicated eBike service centre. Silverstone has been open for a little more than two years, whilst Cornwall and Guildford recently opened in 2022.

 

How did you get involved with cargo bikes?

I’ve been working with eBikes bikes since 2008. Before I started at Fully Charged, I was the founding employee of Gocycle and I was originally a supplier for Ben! We got on really well and I was able to give insights and ideas from a supplier’s perspective. He often spoke about joining him at Fully Charged and after a few jabs I joined him in 2017. Since then, we’ve gone from a small team to more than 30 staff with five locations.

 

How has the transportation industry changed since Fully Charged started?

Since we launched, a lot has happened. We’ve seen the congestion charge increase, ULEZ has been implemented and of course, the increase in fuel prices and train tickets. All of these changes have helped people make the move to electric bikes. Last year’s COP26 was vital in raising awareness around electric bikes and the importance of using them, not cars, as a means for transport.

The pandemic has definitely helped the popularity of eBikes and cargo bikes as people wanted to get out and about, enjoy the parks and avoid public transport. Most people wouldn’t have considered using an eBike before, but with the pandemic, that’s all changed!

Cargo bikes have increased in popularity too. Previously we would get maybe one call a month about them and now they’re so popular we have an entire department dedicated to them!

It’s not just small businesses using cargo bikes either. Large food delivery companies, construction firms, facilities management companies and hospital facilities firms are all utilising the benefits of cargo bikes. What many people don’t realise is that cargo bikes are 100 per cent tax deductible and schemes such as the EST eCargo bike fund and Bikes for Business can help businesses receive subsidies towards their bikes.

 

What are the most common objections you get around cargo bikes?

The biggest objection is the one thing none of us can control - the weather! However, a lot of operators incentivise their riders by the number of deliveries they make and given the increased efficiencies of eBikes vs vans and cars, if improving the environment doesn’t incentivise them, then the personal financial incentive does.

Other businesses are concerned about the upfront cost of the bike, however, when you look at the savings that are made from not paying ULEZ and congestion charges, parking fees or PCNs, the lower running costs, (not to mention the increased efficiencies compared to vans), is easily justified.

 

What’s your advice to businesses who are hesitant to using cargo bikes?

Try it, even if it’s a test ride. We can organise test rides at one of our locations, or we can provide an on-site trial.

We also recommend speaking to other businesses in your sector that use cargo bikes and ask them about their experience, or you can read our case studies.

The most important of all, come and speak to us. Every one of us at Fully Charged are experts in the industry and we know our products. We know which bikes are, or aren’t, up to the job and we can support you after the purchase at our 10,000 sq/ft service centre.

Visit the Fully Charged website to find out about their eBikes, cargo bikes, stores and services.

If you’re based in SE1, SE16 or SE17 and would like to find out more about getting up to £700 in subsidies towards your own cargo bike, contact our team today at bikesforbusiness@mpsmartertravel.co.uk or call us on 0207 960 2553. Or, if you’d like to contact us to implement your own cargo bike project, contact us at info@mpsmartertravel.co.uk.

Published in Blog

Samantha Hayden, Head of Business Operations

 

I joined MP Smarter Travel and Mattinson Partnership in April 2022 as Head of Business Operations. Over the span of my career, I have worked across a range of industries including real estate and more recently, marketing and advertising for sports brands. With 13 years experience in business support, administration and management, I have learnt to think quickly on my feet and developed strong communication skills.

My role encompasses a diverse range of responsibilities including, administration, finance, HR and even problem solving IT issues! As the main point of contact for placed candidates I assist with general queries and timesheets.

In my free time, I enjoy traveling and finding new hidden gems for those perfect Instagram moments.

Published in MP Smarter Travel team

 

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From November 2021 to March 2022, the MP Smarter Travel team visited schools across the UK’s capital, to deliver free air quality workshops and anti-idling activities for Idling Action London, a London-wide behaviour change campaign that has been running since 2016. The organisation campaigns to reduce localised air pollution caused by motorists leaving their engines on when stationary for more than 30 seconds. Overall, we visited 66 schools across 26 London Boroughs, and are funded thanks to the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund.

 

School workshops that make a difference

The aim was to increase awareness of air pollution among school children and to prevent idling outside of schools. The workshops explored what the most harmful pollutants are, where these come from, where they are highest, what their effects are, and how to reduce this impact. Tied in with the school curriculum around science, global warming and the human body, students from all schools were enthusiastic and came up with their own ideas about climate change and pollution.

The younger generation have a fierce interest in caring for the environment and avoiding climate disaster. It was inspiring to follow the students’ thought process as they took in the information and thought critically and innovatively about how to reduce pollution. For example, when we explained that a lot of particulate pollution comes from the friction between the tyres and the road, students asked:

  • Would flying cars would be better for pollution?
  • Is formula one racing harmful to the environment because they drive so fast?
  • Can create particulate matter by walking or cycling?

 

As part of the workshops, children created posters to advertise the danger of idling and convince people to turn off their engines. The best artwork from each school was turned into a banner by the Idling Action team and put up outside their school to remind waiting drivers to protect their children’s vulnerable lungs, hearts, and brains. Some children also had time to write letters to their parents, siblings, or teachers about air pollution, including some interesting facts they had learned and asking them to pledge that they would never leave their car running again.

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Public events

In addition to the workshops, we also delivered 58 events, which took place at the end of the school day when many parents were waiting to pick up their children. During these events, we worked with borough officers and small groups of Junior Travel Ambassadors, Green Team Members, Eco Councillors and School Councillors. We approached drivers, especially those idling, and the children politely asked those idling to turn off their engines and thanked those who were doing the right thing and waiting without idling. The children discussed what they had learned in the workshops and educated the drivers using this knowledge.

 

Pollution in London

Given the number of sources and factors contributing to dangerously high levels of pollution in London, the problem can feel overwhelming, and we can suffer from information overload. It is important, to shine a spotlight on the dangers of idling engines, for several reasons:

  • Idling can create 150 balloons of nitrous oxides, particulate matter, and cyanide, which can be more dangerous than driving.
  • Leaving your engine on when parked can create up to twice the amount of pollution of a moving car. The engine does not burn fuel as efficiently, and the pollution is more localised, as the emissions are released into the same space rather than spread across many streets. Creating this localised pollution is particularly bad if you are idling outside of a school, because it puts our children’s health in danger.
  • It's also unnecessary and often it serves no purpose! Often the reasons people give for idling are myths, which is only supported by the fact that almost all of a car’s emissions are invisible, and therefore, not always evident. Many of the idling drivers we spoke to during this project were not aware of the dangers associated with it and were thankful for the information.

 

Children act as a crucial bridge to parents and guardians. Adults are more likely to listen to their children than anyone else, especially when it comes to their children’s health and wellbeing, so when the students bring the information home, this can be the push that makes them change behaviour. We found that when engaging with drivers during anti-idling patrols at the schools at pick-up time; being confronted (very politely) by the people most affected by the pollution they were creating made the issue suddenly very real. Some students wrote pledges for their parents using their parents’ first language. At one engagement event, we came across a driver who didn’t speak English, a student recognised they were Turkish and translated the dangers of idling. Children can act as a crucial connection to communities that might otherwise be difficult to reach.

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What did we learn?

School children are spirited, passionate ambassadors of change and hold great potential to make the world a better place, and were able to convince 171 drivers to turn off their engines!

We also provide our own clean air workshops for schools, if you’d like us to visit schools in your area, contact us at info@mpsmartertravel.co.uk

Published in Blog
12-04-2022

Lauren James

 

Lauren James, Senior Consultant

 

Lauren joined MP Smarter Travel in April 2022 as a Senior Consultant. Her experience to date includes working in travel behaviour change and active travel promotion, having previously working with local authorities across London to encourage targeted active travel behaviour change at workplaces, schools and residents. Lauren has a passion for ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion within active travel and is looking forward to creating meaningful active travel engagement with under-represented groups at MP Smarter Travel.

In her free time, Lauren enjoys exploring London by bike to find new places to relax… and eat!

Published in MP Smarter Travel team

Case studies