Brussels will help with 900 euros to the purchase of a bicycle, the use of public transport or shared car services whenever a vehicle is unregistered. A measure that has also been taken in Spain and that, however, shows that the car is difficult to replace.
When a driver is reluctant to give up his old polluting car, it’s not just about money. A series of intangibles are often alleged (such as the freedom it offers or comfort on bad weather days) that can far outweigh the aid provided to opt for less environmentally damaging means of transport.
For years, Brussels rewards those who leave aside their car. This year, the amount increases, raising up to 900 euros the help for those who cancel their vehicle and earn less than 37,600 euros or less than 52,600 euros at home (the average salary in Belgium is 47,720 euros per year).
This figure is almost double the maximum of 500 euros that was being given until now, a figure that becomes the minimal help for those who charge more than 75,100 euros. Between the two extremes, aid of 700 euros will be delivered.
To access this money it is necessary to deregister a vehicle and can be spent on an annual subscription to public transport, a twelve-month subscription to the city’s car-sharing services or the purchase of a bicycle. Despite everything, the success of these aids has been relative, with 1,200 applications in 2019, 1,049 in 2020 and a decrease (not specified) in 2021.
Aids that do not finish starting
The driver of a car still prefers a car. These are conclusions that we can draw from poor success that seem to have this aid, even in a country like Belgium, the sixth nation where daily modal transport by bicycle is most common.
In Spain, we have also seen this kind of aid and, however, it has not been extended over time. The Community of Madrid offers a bonus very similar to the Belgian at the moment. Whoever scraps a car that is more than 10 years old can opt for 1,250 euros to spend on shared car or motorcycle companies for two years. If you opt for a bicycle, the aid is 50% of the purchase, with a maximum of 600 euros, and 150 euros for scooters.
But, in recent years, we have also seen similar subsidies in the Valencian Community, in the Basque Country or in Catalonia. On none of them are active right now. But, in addition, the aid that was given in the Madrid City Council is striking.
Under the Madrid 360 plan, 500,000 euros of aid were offered for the purchase of bicycles, scooters, motorcycles and mopeds. Of these, the website shows that 412,837 euros were left undelivered at the end of the period available for access to these grants.
Interestingly, these are data that collide with the important rise in bicycle sales as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, 24.10% more units were sold in Spain than the previous year, reaching 1.5 million bicycles sold.
Photo | Marc Kleen
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism