I found out by chance yesterday that we are having a Sage Environment Day next wednesday. I thought our local Corporate Social Responsibility Champion would have known all about that, but he didn’t.
I confess I’ve not done much on that front and although I’m not a raving environmentalist I imagined that Sage green initiatives would have been pumped down from head office for me to transmit to our office. It seems they are focussing on putting their own bigger house in order first, after all it is their own house whereas we in Manchester are just tenants.
A bit of the green agenda I had more interest in was a travel plan for our office which I’ve not had chance to bring together. As well as a popular cycle to work scheme and discounts on annual travel cards, (which I’ll push when our benefits window opens in September) our Landlords were planning to hold an event in June to push sustainable travel to the 2,200 people on Exchange Quay but it fell through. Neither the CTC powered 3 week long GM Workplace Cycle Challenge nor the combined council’s 9 day GM Cycle Commute Challenge were held last month either so chances to promote bikes have not occurred. I’ve have done some investigative fannying about on public transport but it’s just made me appreciate my bike so much more. We clearly need incentives to drag people out of their cars but to be honest most people around me travel such a distance to work that the unreliability and cost of public transport rules it out for many. Car sharing is the best hope. Even for relative locals like myself, there is no train station close to the office, tram is expensive and horrendously busy in the evening and although I personally have found the buses good for getting me to my desk before 7:30am their limited service can’t be trusted in the evening and are also poor value for money. Bikes have got to be an answer for more of my colleagues but my efforts prior to taking on the CSR Champion mantle have been in vain so I’m loathed to waste any CSR time and energy on it.
I thought about setting up a Bike User Group (BUG) to support existing and new riders, but I would rather someone else ran it as it would be a massive distraction. We had a couple of bikes stolen last month which made me finally bring together a list of regular and irregular cyclists I knew of and I suggested someone co-ordinate a mail group amongst us but there were no takers. Tonight I found out about another couple of Sage riders which means I can now list 15 employees who have ridden in to our office plus two more who are going to start in the near future as well as our soon to be returning bicycling behemoth. Not a bad number out of 200 or so but still a minority and a much smaller one when it’s cold, wet and dark. A BUG for Exchange Quay might give us the numbers and interest to support others and to lobby for improvements but I definately don’t want to be lumbered with that. I’ll try to piggyback on a Media City BUG when I find one because with a good number of Quays based cyclists we might have a chance of influencing Salford City Council and getting better/safer provision around our offices which I know is what employees on Exchange Quay say is the biggest barrier to riding to work.