Tag Archives: bikeshare

Bringing Bike-share to Underserved Populations: A Case Study

By David Sorrell, MOL

About 10 years ago, I received my undergrad from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill., about an hour west of Chicago. I was one of many without a car and getting around town, especially nights and weekends, was especially difficult. At the same time, I didn’t think the mobility spectrum would go beyond personal vehicles.

Fast-forward 10 years: The mobility spectrum has changed drastically. Personal travel has started to shift to more shared modes of travel. Cars, bikes, and even scooters can be accessed through a card, a cell phone, or even a fob. This has made access a lot more easier, but many people, including students, are left out of the equation because of where they live or their ability to afford and pay for such services.

When I took over the TDM program at UC Berkeley in 2017, I was presented with an opportunity to bridge that divide. Our regional bike-share network, FordGoBike (powered by Lyft/Motivate), (re)launched from the Bay Area Bike Share pilot and expand to five cities. If you happen to take a bike in Berkeley, you can opt to ride it to Emeryville or Oakland (adjacent cities); with the same membership, you can also access BikeShare stations in San Francisco and San Jose.

There’s an effort reach areas known as “communities of concern,” the Metropolitian Transportation Commission’s identified areas of low-income and minority populations. Ford GoBike provided low-income memberships to those who qualify (a $149 yearly membership for $5 the first year). I received a grant to provide qualified students (those with Pell and DREAM grants) the $5 fee and as a result, free bike-share.

Students who don’t qualify for this awesome program aren’t left out. The same grant opportunity offers all students a monthly discount.

Cal is one of the first colleges in the U.S. to offer such an exciting partnership and more than 1,000 students have taken advantage of it. Their trips replace vehicular modes including Uber and Lyft (no irony there). Plus, by communicating these programs to our Educational Opportunity Program students—many of whom are minority, low-income, first-generation, parents, active military— these groups can embrace bike-share as a program specifically for them. Once they make six figures, they can make bike-share part of their daily lives.

It’s important to link my experience as a broke college student with very limited forms of mobility beyond rollerblades and a roommate with a car with being able to offer students an opportunity to go further, faster, affordably.

David Sorrell, MOL, is transportation demand management administrator at UC Berkeley. He will present on this topic at the 2019 IPMI Conference & Expo, June 9-12 in Anaheim, Calif. For more information and to register, click here.


Are E-scooters Here to Stay?

By L. Dennis Burns, CAPP

Mobility Lab has referred to 2018 as the Year of the Curb. One big reason for this was the rapid and broad emergence of dockless e-scooters. In the January 8 issue of Mobility Lab Express, Director Paul Mackie reflects on everything we know about scooters to predict their staying power—and highlights important questions for future research.

“The exploding popularity of scooters is reason enough to research them. Dockless bike-share systems barely started to be viewed as legitimate transit options in the public’s perception when, all of a sudden, scooters arrived and, in many cities, completely replaced dockless bikes almost overnight,” he writes.

“It’s difficult to predict whether scooters are here to stay. But not for lack of trying by transportation journalists. Scooters are still so new that the lack of research on their popularity makes their staying power a guessing game. As far back as July, Populus released a report finding that most people like dockless e-scooters—including women, who have a slightly more positive perception of them than men. But, besides that report, there’s little academic research on why scooters have taken cities across the country by storm.”

The article goes on to review the early success of Arlington, Va.’s scooter pilot program and explores other topic areas such as:

  • How many options are too many options?
  • Are shared scooters priced for optimal success?
  • Long-held perceptions need to change.
  • Transit will be the big winner if cities do scooters right.

Read the full story here.

L. Dennis Burns, CAPP, is regional vice president of Kimley-Horn.

Pedal-powered Shared Bikes: Extinct Already?

That might have been fast: About a year after dockless bike-share started making headlines, many cities and suppliers are moving away from them, shifting their fleets to dockless e-bikes or scooters instead.

Dockless pedal bikes have all but been replaced in Washington, D.C.; Seattle; Chicago; and Dallas; and Boston ditched theirs before they even hit the streets, deciding to go with e-scooters instead. Dockless bike companies say it’s a simple case of supply and demand, especially in cities that cap the number of shared bikes that can be on the streets. Customers simply prefer getting a battery-assisted boost.

Read the whole story here and let us know in the blog comments–what’s happening near you?

Boosting Bike-Share in NOLA

New Orleans, La., jumped on the bike-share bandwagon just about a year ago, and while their blue shared bikes are a common enough sight downtown, lots of people haven’t tried them yet. So the city’s teamed up with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of  Louisiana to get potential riders to try their blue bikes for the best price possible–free.

City residents can try its Blue Bikes program for one hour every day in September for free. All they have to do is sign up. Current subscribers also received codes for a free hour per day, and everyone can ride for 13 cents per hour when their free time runs out.

Will the free promotion boost bike-share in New Orleans? Time will tell. Check out the whole story here. 

Dockless Bikes No Longer Free-Range in D.C.

In a bit of trend-bucking, Washington, D.C., is extending its dockless bike and scooter pilot program, but there’s a catch: Dockless bike riders will have to lock their rides to something when they reach their destinations.

Dockless bikes will be required to be left locked to bike racks or street signs when not being used under new rules rolled out by the city. That means the bike companies will re-write their rules to require locking. But with more companies, including Lime, exiting the bike market in favor of e-scooters, some say the new rules won’t have much of an effect.

City officials say the locking requirements will address sidewalk-clutter issues. Users say they’re not big fans. Read the whole story here.