Brazilian micromobility firm Tembici announced on Tuesday an initiative to promote the access of bicycles to vaccine drive-thrus, previously dedicated to cars and motorcycles.
In partnership with Itaú and with the city halls and health agencies of the cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Salvador, the government of Pernambuco, and the city of Vila Velha, the campaign, called Vem vacina, vai de bike, is expected to encourage the use of bicycles to get to the vaccination posts. For those who travel with Tembici (users from Bike Itaú and Tembici app in Vila Velha), the trips to receive the first and second vaccine shots will be free of charge, through a code inserted in the app.
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“We always seek to bring the bicycle as a tool for projects that go beyond mobility,” says Tomás Martins, co-founder and CEO at Tembici, in an interview with LABS. The exec tells that the initiative emerged as a way to make bicycles available as an economical and sustainable means of transportation to enable vaccination against COVID-19, contributing to social distancing.
“We talked with the public authorities, with whom we have always had a great partnership and proximity, and we designed this project. Before, drive-thrus did not have the premise of enabling vaccination by bicycle. We managed to break this barrier in some city capitals and now it is possible to access a drive-thru by bicycle, whether with Tembici or not.” According to Martins, the idea is that the campaign encourages other Brazilian cities to also join the movement to include bicycles in the access flows to vaccination points.
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Bike delivery and ESG guidelines
Launched at the end of last year, another project that led Tembici to connect urban mobility with other fields was the partnership with iFood for bike deliveries. Named iFood Pedal, the project provides delivery drivers with exclusive electric bicycles, rest stops, and online training on safety and road awareness. According to Martins, in the last two months, the number of bike deliveries with the company’s bicycles is growing by 20% week over week.
“During the pandemic, we have been looking at how we can use our system to help people and the city as a whole,” Martins summarizes. The new efforts are paying off: Martins says that, due to bike deliveries and the user’s behavior in preferring bicycles as a safe alternative to public transportation, the level of use is already higher than in the pre-pandemic scenario.
“Placing the bicycle increasingly as a means of transportation is a major focus,” the exec points out. “The vaccine initiative is directly linked to the health of individuals themselves, as well as to a collective perspective. In this sense, bikes and e-bikes are just kicking off a shift in the cities.”
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According to Martins, this thesis is in line with the ESG agenda, something that, for the executive, will define the survival of companies in the future, as social and environmental purposes go from optional to mandatory. “We have already been feeling this in fundraising and conversations. We are benefiting from this market moment, but we have always had this very much in our core business. Now, these issues are starting to get more awareness and becoming real businesses.
Tembici’s shared bikes have already made over fifty million trips in Latin American capitals such as Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Salvador, Recife, Santiago and Buenos Aires. It hit fifteen million trips in 2020 alone, a year in which the company also reached a record revenue of BRL 100 million. In 2021, the expectation is to reach twenty-five million trips.