Electric Transportation = Benefits Not Buzz for Bend Tour Company

At any given day in Bend, Oregon, there are no less than 20 tour companies taking visitors to see the sites, according to Central Oregon tourism group Visit Bend.

The Bend Tour Company stands out from the crowd – with tours offered on electric bikes, segways or cruiser cars, and themed tours of the city and surrounding sights.

Partner John Flannery says he knew eco-tourism would be good for the environment, but he never imagined it would be so good for business.

E-bikes, segways and cars have allowed for an intimate group experience to see more of the area than a traditional tour van would allow, while also bringing a “cool” factor to tours that attract people time and time again.

Offering everything from the “Ale Trail and Brew Tap Tour”; the “Art Safari Tour” highlighting Central Oregon regional artists, historical tours; and even majestic sunset tours, The Bend Tour Company boasts many ways to see Bend.

“Taking a tour on an e-bike helps demystify a place,” says company partner John Flannery. “They help people to know the place they’re touring more intimately. Our customers love them.”

The bikes have also helped people feel more ready to take the leap to buy their own e-bike and switch from drive-commuting to biking to work. John says past customers have returned to let him know that they purchased an e-bike because The Bend Tour Company tour showed them how easy it is to commute by e-bike. For commuters, e-bikes offer some of the physicality of a regular bike, but are not as difficult – saving the money on gas, and some of the workout sweat.

It’s a no brainer that better bicycle infrastructure provides critical and affordable connections to improve community health and wellbeing. As Oregon’s population grows, we need to make sure that more people can choose to bike. It’s a critical strategy in reducing congestion. The Bend Tour Company is doing its part to show consumers the “cool factor” of e-bikes, but the Oregon Legislature must also do its part to incentivize bike commuting – and to make sure it’s safe.

Likewise, the Oregon Legislature has a role to play in moving Oregon to an electric vehicle future. The Bend Tour Company’s electric cruiser cars are pure “gems” – Global Electric Motor Car Vehicles, that is. They allow for a quiet, scenic drive -an intimate group experience without wasting space or gas – and are far cheaper to  fuel and maintain than gas-powered cars. When not in use, the company simply plugs the GEM cars into the wall to charge until needed again.

It’s because of experiences like The Bend Tour Company’s that Oregon Environmental Council is urging the Oregon Legislature to expand adoption of electric vehicles as part of a comprehensive, statewide transportation package.

By providing electric vehicle rebates for consumers, focused on helping low- and moderate-income families transition to the lower maintenance and operational costs of electric vehicles, we can accelerate Oregon’s transition to a clean, electric economy. Another great opportunity is electric transit buses, which are so much cheaper to operate than diesel buses that the savings can be used to fund more transit service.

Just as Oregon has helped build the market for hybrid cars, rooftop solar, and other clean technologies, Oregon can lead the market for clean electric vehicles. The Bend Tour Company embodies the innovative spirit Oregonians are known for; it’s time for stories like theirs to inspire broad change that will make our state a leader in the clean energy economy.

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