Image for Hope 100: A ride-sharing startup that puts its drivers – and the planet – first

Hope 100: A ride-sharing startup that puts its drivers – and the planet – first

Pedal Me: blueprint for a sustainable and socially responsible business?

Pedal Me: blueprint for a sustainable and socially responsible business?

This piece is part of our Hope 100 series, telling the stories of the people and organisations creating hope for 2020 and beyond

Ben Knowles is the co-founder of Pedal Me, a two-wheeled, ride-sharing service based in London. Established in 2017 with just two cycles, Pedal Me now has 42 bikes and 45 riders. It uses similar technology to Uber and gives staff equity in the business.

What inspired Pedal Me?

I worked as a transport planner for a central London borough and I thought using cars and vans to deliver people and goods wasn’t a smart way of doing things. It’s inefficient and contributes towards air pollution and climate change. It frustrated me that people weren’t making use of cargo bikes even though I tried to convince them. So, I thought if people aren’t going to listen to me then I’ll have to do it myself.

Your employees get shares in the company, right?

Riders get equity in Pedal Me when they’ve worked 1,000 hours, and they get paid the minimum wage (£8.21) plus 16.3 per cent commission on all the money they take. On average they take home £11.50 per hour.

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What jobs do you get asked to do?

We take kids to school, send people to meetings, move things from markets, deliver food to offices, help people move house. All sorts of things. It’s the fastest way to travel across London.

You help people move house?

Yeah, we had special trailers made.

Riders get equity in Pedal Me when they’ve worked 1,000 hours

What next?

We’re crowdfunding via Crowdcube to finance some tech improvements, which will allow us to be more efficient and charge less to deliver smaller items. We think there are opportunities to move into other cities, too.

What brings you hope?

The way Extinction Rebellion has made people more aware about climate change. And how fast we’ve grown also gives me hope for environmentally friendly interventions in other sectors.

In photos: Pedal Me

Images: Pedal Me

Hope 100: The people and organisations creating hope for the future

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