Tampa: Predictable Weather, Flat Topography Makes for Good E-bike Environment

Parking Director Austin Britt and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor speak about the city's e-bike incentive, with a e-bike situated to the rightTAMPA IS ONE of the fastest growing cities in Florida, which has led to worsening traffic, increasing commute times, and decreasing air quality, according to Austin Britt, Parking Planning Coordinator in the city’s Mobility Department. E-bikes are part of the plan to address those issues. The city is relatively flat and the weather is predictable — “it will rain at 3 p.m. each day in the summer,” he quipped – which lends itself to e-bikes.

While electric vehicles are a great choice for sustainability, they’re unaffordable for much of the community. “We have a huge portion of low-income people who have trouble keeping jobs because of a lack of transportation,” Britt said.

E-bikes are sustainable and can be affordable with an incentive program. Tampa, which used to have Coast Bike Share, has a shared micromobility program with three vendors: Spin, for e-scooters and e-bikes; Lime for e-bikes, and Helbiz, for e-scooters.

Tampa holds an outreach event for its e-bike incentive programBefore launching an e-bike voucher program this year, the city’s Parking Division conducted a pilot program. Last year, under the pilot, Tampa awarded 180 vouchers with $170,000 from the Parking Division and $20,000 from the Environmental and Sustainability Office. There were almost 1,000 applications for the $500 vouchers for Class 1 e-bikes and $1,000 vouchers for e-cargo bikes. “It blew my mind,” Britt said, who expected to reach the minimum 180 applications.

This year, Tampa will award 260 vouchers, valued at $570,000, in two funding cycles (spring and fall) across three tiers: $1,000 standard voucher for any e-bike, and up to $2,000 and $3,000 for lower-income households based on a percentage of federal Area Median Income (AMI) levels (in Tampa, AMI is about $60,000).