Families given option to trade in car for bicycles under new pilot scheme

The Mobility Credits scheme gives households £3,000 to spend on sustainable travel in exchange for their car

Jon Stone
Policy Correspondent
Monday 31 January 2022 14:22 GMT
The scheme is designed to reduce air pollution
The scheme is designed to reduce air pollution (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A city council in England is to give residents the power to trade in their family car for bicycles, under a new pilot scheme.

The programme, launched by Coventry City Council and Transport for West Midlands, is the first of its kind in the country and aims to cut air pollution by helping people travel more sustainably.

Under the scheme, which is open to people in the worst-polluted parts of Coventry, families are given a pre-loaded £3,000 cashcard if they give up their car for scrap.

The trial Mobility Credits programme was first launched in 2021 and originally allowed the money to be spent on public transport, car clubs, shared e-scooters and cycle hire, as well as taxis and ride-hailing services like Uber.

But it is now being expanded to allow people to buy bikes, including e-bikes and cargo bikes. Scheme users will be allowed to spend up to £1,500 on bicycles - enough for entry-level bikes for a whole family.

The remainder of the cash, which is a flat £3,000 grant no matter the price of the car traded in, can be spent on other transport services to help people get around.

Adam Tranter, who was appointed cycling and walking commissioner for the West Midlands in December, told The Independent: "Mobility Credits is an innovative scheme to help people scrap their old polluting vehicles and use cleaner, greener transport instead.

"Since the pilot launched, people have been able to use credits towards public transport, cycle hire, car clubs and taxis.

West Midlands cycling and walking commissioner Adam Tranter with West Midlands mayor Andy Street
West Midlands cycling and walking commissioner Adam Tranter with West Midlands mayor Andy Street (Dale Martin)

"But we need to make not using a car as attractive as possible, which is why we're pleased to now be able to allow people to use their credits to buy bikes.

"We'll scrap your old polluting car, you can get a quality bike you can keep, and still have some credits left over for other journeys by public transport or car club when you need to."

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) is the transport authority for the West Midlands Combined Authority.

The mobility credits is part of TfWM's Future Transport Zone, a £22m programme that aims to investigate how new technologies can be used to help improve air quality, reduce congestion and deal with climate change.

People living in the wards Earlsdon, Foleshill, Holbrook, Radford, Sherbourne, St Michael’s, Upper Stoke, and Whoberley can currently make use of the Mobility Credits scheme.

The scheme's expansion comes as the UK government changes the Highway Code to give more priority to people on two wheels.

Under the amendments, which came into effect from 29 January, the code has been amended to make clear that people riding bicycles should ride in the middle of their lane rather than in the gutter. It has also been updated to make clear that people can ride side-by-side if they wish.

And crucially, motorists have have been told they must leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking people at 30mph or faster.

The government has provided extra funding for active travel since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and last week set up a new body called Active Travel England, chaired by Olympic gold medallist and cyclist Chris Boardman. The agency will be headquartered in York from Summer 2022.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in