I suppose it isn’t very different from in most other countries, but in Sweden you often get reimbursed by your work etc if you use your car to get to meetings or assignments. In our tax declarations, commuting expenses above a certain amount are also deductible – if you go by car or public transport.
As a dedicated cyclist I must say I have sometimes wondered why pedalling your way there doesn’t count at all.
This was also the question that Matilda Forsärla, local government councillor in Tranås in the South of Sweden [map] , asked herself. But she went a step further and actually did something to change this.
In her municipality, politicians who live more than five kilometers away from the session hall, get payed for every 10 kilmeter they travel by car. So Matilda presented a motion saying that the politically elected who choose to come by bicycle instead (a “normal” or an electric one) should be equally compensated.
When the motion was passed earlier this spring, Tranås became Sweden’s first city to take the step.
– The purpose with this motion was to inspire a new thinking: Can we travel differently? That can lead to more green steps in the future, says Matilda Forsärla in an interview with the Swedish radio. and also says that many other local politicians have come up to her and told her that they are now taking the bike to sessions.
Pedalling won’t make the elected of Tranås rich, though. In a year the reimbursement will maybe add up to pay for a few puncture fixes by a professional. But it isn’t that much about the money, says Matilda Forsärla.
– This is rather about justice. It shouldn’t pay to choose the most environmentally unfriendly alternative, being green should always be the most economical alternative.