“Increasingly, our employees are having to take account one-way streets, one-way loops, slow traffic and a large distance between the parking space and the building where they have to work. The upcoming infrastructure projects could turn Antwerp into the mobility laboratory of Benelux, so we decided to start now with our first electric cargo bike in Antwerp,” says Chris Lefrère, who is in charge of innovation at ESAS.
A cycling technician means less demand for parking spaces, lower levels of traffic and no fine particle emissions in the inner city. Shorter travel times result in a faster service for the customer. The technicians themselves also have a more enjoyable and healthier job. He or she moves more, has direct contact with people on the street and very often receives positive feedback from passers-by.
Currently ESAS employs 1,650 technicians in Benelux, who visit 2.5 million addresses for a technical intervention each year. An ever increasing proportion of these visits will happen by bike in the future, predominantly in the cities. Chris Lefrère: “Based on our experience in Antwerp, we are going to switch systematically.”
Decrease in fine particles
“A large part of our success is due to the continuous improvement of our operations. So in line with this approach, we decided to accelerate the launch of the first cargo bike,” says Chris Lefrère. Last year there was pilot project in Rotterdam. After a positive evaluation of the concept, ESAS looked for the most appropriate solution based on four criteria. First, the technician must be comfortable with the idea. He or she must be able to work safely, comfortably and with less stress. Secondly, the mobility of the technician must be significantly improved due to shorter journey times and easier parking. Thirdly, the cycling technician must contribute to improving the environment, thanks to a decrease in fine particles and greatly reduced CO2 emissions. Finally, the scheme must also be economically viable for ESAS and its customers and therefore cost-neutral.