Last updated: April 6, 2011 3:13 pm
Student business offers green shipping on three wheels
Students from three B.C. universities developed service together
BURNABY, B.C. (CUP) — A new delivery service is coming to Vancouver, and it’s being run by students on tricycles.
Students from Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia and the British Columbia Institute of Technology have teamed up to create the SHIFT Urban Cargo Delivery Service, which aims to provide last-minute delivery service in and around downtown Vancouver through sustainable means.
“The concept was developed in a social enterprise class for sustainable community development at SFU,” explained co-founder Loretta Laurin.
She believes that Vancouver is the perfect place to start a project like this, as it moves towards its goal of becoming the greenest city in the world.
Launching on May 1, the co-operative will make use of human-powered tricycles, specially designed to be capable of carrying up to 600 pounds.
“Our idea is replace delivery trucks with delivery trikes in downtown Vancouver,” said Robyn Ashwell, another co-founder and sustainable community development student at SFU.
“There are many reasons for choosing trikes to make downtown deliveries. While big trucks may be efficient for carrying large loads over long distances, they cause congestion and pollution in the city, and they put pedestrians and bikers at risk.”
Laurin added that “trikes are super fun to ride, and pretty darn sexy.”
Ashwell said the tricycles will be pedal powered and are able to hold a diverse range of products including coffee, office supplies and catering materials.
What makes SHIFT different from many other green businesses is it’s a for-profit venture that is owned and operated by its workers. The team plans to market the product by having ads placed right on the tricycles that promote green business practices as well as cycling.
In fact, the team already has interest from several companies, including Frogbox, Mills Basics and Shirtland Drycleaners.
Laurin said the organization’s ultimate goal is to “provide a zero-emissions, cycle-based distribution service cycling culture in Vancouver.” In addition, the team says they are working toward providing sustainable solutions to business clients as well as trying to facilitate the empowerment of workers through a co-operative model.
Like many green ideas, reducing pollution is also a task they plan on upholding.