WeeRide: The “Pedal-Empowering” School Bus
WeeRide is a pedal-powered bus that safely introduces children and parents to the notion of commuting to school in a fun,safe,sustainable and carbon neutral way
About Your Organization
Canada, BC, Vancouver
Country where this solution is creating social impact
Canada, BC, Vancouver
Region in BC where your solution creates social impact
Is your organization a
How long has your organization been operating?
Less than a year
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Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Start-Up (a pilot that has just begun operating)
How long have you been in operation?
Still in idea phase, but looking to launch soon
Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your solution addresses? Choose up to two
The Need: Describe the need for your solution and the size and characteristics of the community(ies) your solution is engaging
As many parents are afraid of letting their kids cycle to school on their own (Hoffman 2009), get them on WeeRide, the multi-person pedal powered vehicle that picks them up on their way to school, is a safer option. WeeRide reduces our reliance on fossil-fuel based transportation and utilizes existing infrastructure and provides great opportunities for socializing. Additionally, as childhood obesity has become a North American epidemic, WeeRide aims to reverse this trend by providing a low entrance barrier option to active transportation to kids in elementary school and beyond, simultaneously contributing to net social benefits. It is also proven that physical activity contributes to overall improvements in health & fitness, improved improved self-esteem and higher academic scores.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
This business provides both a transportation service and a transportation product i.e the pedal bus. WeeRide is a safe and reliable transport service to gather children in a local neighbourhood and bring them to schools while contributing to the social and ecological health of our community. The specially designed and constructed “buscycle” will also be a product available for purchase for similar use locally and internationally. The design of the “buscycle” is similar to two parallel rows of cycles, lightweight, durable and electric-assisted to give you extra energy to climb a steep hill, overcome a strong wind or just to ride your bike with more ease. The buscycle is designed to accommodate 8-14 kids divided in 2 rows and conducted by an adult pilot. Each kid partakes in the pedaling process.The buscycle will not be any wider than 1.2 meters in order to meet the city's engineering department thus will be treated as bicycle therefore free to use the city's bike lanes.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include the primary activities involved in your solution.
WeeRide’s unique multi-person, pedal-powered design sets it apart from powered school bus and sets it apart from other cycling and transportation programs in Vancouver. WeeRide is able to provide a supervised, participatory transportation services that cannot be matched by personal vehicles, walking, school busses, or public transportation. It reduces traffic congestion at peak hours around the school, saves parents time and money, is more enjoyable for children, creates positive health benefits, and has minimal environmental impact. There are several closely linked benefits to the concept, but WeeRide is really about normalizing cycling; making it a part of everyday life for children and parents alike and creating shared positive shared experience.
The concept of a multi-person pedal-powered vehicle is not new. However, WeeRide would like to use it to advance the active urban transportation agenda by integration with progressive school programs that promote fitness, the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and communal/community based transportation alternatives.The simplicity of this concept creates potential for incorporation into many other contexts, including lesser-developed countries.
Secondary markets include municipalities wishing to use the WeeRide as a tourist attraction or even just as a replacement for city buses and under-developed communities using the WeeRide for a low-cost and reliable goods, people, and emergency transportation. It would also empower people who are afraid of biking on their own or simply can’t afford a bicycle.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others working to address the same needs as you and indicate what sets you apart from them.
The unique concept of WeeRide sets it apart from other cycling programs in Canada. Cycling organizations in Vancouver, such as the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition and Pedal, promote cycling through after school programs and workshops geared towards skills development and safety training. Organized school transportation systems include fee-for-service school buses that pick up and drop off children on scheduled routes. These programs are costly, contribute to noise, and have high environmental impact. WeeRide operates as a zero-emissions transportation system enabling children to incorporate cycling safely into their every day commute. WeeRide's largest competitive advantage is its novelty; to the best of our knowledge it will be the first "buscycle" transportation service in Canada.
This Entry is about (Issues)
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world.
Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
WeeRide’s group cycling design reduces barriers to cycling. It incorporates cycling into a daily routine, it enables students to experience the joy of riding and its possibilities to be used as transportation even if they are not yet skilled or confident enough to do it alone. The WeeRide program also has the potential to expand, offering cycling maintenance and skills-training workshops. As cycling becomes integrated into their lives as a form of exercise, leisure, and transportation, children will be more likely to cycle outside of the WeeRide program as well. Increased cycling has a variety of personal and community benefits: it reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improves physical and mental health, and contributes to a culture of cycling while crafting better our future citizens.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
One factor to consider as a threat to the success of WeeRide is the variability in weather within Vancouver. Parents may be more cautious and choose to drive their children to school during the colder months of the year. Furthermore, because WeeRide is an outdoor biking activity on city streets, there is some risk involved when participating. Any accidents or injuries incurred while using WeeRide could tarnish the reputation and affect the growth of the business until any issues become rectified. WeeRide will follow maximum safety standards to ensure safety at all times. Some of the tests conducted on each WeeRide are: side and rear impact, tip over, and long term durability on a very rough simulated road. The detachable rain-cover shelters the users in bad weather.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
I want to have a buscycle manufactured and fully operating as a pilot project.
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Find funding to cover for the design and manufacturing of the first buscycle
Complete the design and partner with local bamboo bikes manufacturer, BCIT School of Engineering for manufacturing and testing
Have to targeted school and parents to embark on this journey
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Produce 2 more bikes
Sell the service to summer camps and have all the 3 buscycles rented out on a full time bases
Continue R&D, promotion of the business, monitor service and product quality and measure success
Tell us about your partnerships
We are planning on partnering with BCIT Mechanical Engineering as well as local bicycle manufacturer such as Grass Frames Bamboo Bicycle Frames both located in Vancouver. The targeted school for the pilot is Queen Victoria Annex located in Grandview, Vancouver. The reason for this is the growing interest in cycling in this neighborhood. According to the 2006 Statistics Canada Census, in the Point Grey and Grandview-Woodland area more than 10% of work trips are made by bicycle. Focusing on these areas would bring about the best opportunity for WeeRide to smoothly incorporate into the community.
Are you currently targeting other specific populations, locations, or markets for your solution? If so, where and why?
Our market also includes day camps and other children's day programs such as daycares. These groups are able to rent the buscyle between the drop off period, or full days over the weekend. During the summer months when school is out, WeeRide will be available to summer day camps and community activity programs on a daily or weekly basis. We also wish municipalities will include WeeRide in their active transportation as it would empower people who are afraid of biking or can't afford to own a bike. It would also be a reliable and low-cost mean of transportation in developing countries.
What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list