Rides Hits 500,000 Mark; Low-Income Residents Comprise 15 Percent of Annual Memberships
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Ford GoBike program surpassed a key milestone in late December, with more than 500,000 rides taken since launch in June 2017. In another milestone, the number of Bay Area residents who have signed up for discounted memberships has nearly tripled since September 2017, thanks to vigorous efforts to inform low-income communities about the Bike Share for All discount program.
The Ford GoBike program is operated under a public-private partnership between the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and Motivate, a global leader in bike share. With 262 stations and 2,600+ bikes on the ground across San Francisco, San Jose, Berkeley, Oakland and Emeryville, the Ford GoBike bike share network is fast approaching the halfway mark on system expansion in the Bay Area.
Almost 1,500 residents are enrolled via the $5 first-year Bike Share for All discounted membership, or roughly 15 percent of the Ford GoBike’s nearly 10,000 annual members. Members enrolled in Ford GoBike via the Bike Share for All discount program can take unlimited free 60-minute trips. By comparison, the standard annual Ford GoBike membership costs $149 per year and gives riders access to unlimited 45-minute rides on any Ford GoBike.
The $5 discounted Ford GoBike membership is available to recipients of eligible assistance programs — including PG&E California Alternate Rate for Energy (CARE), San Francisco Muni Lifeline and CalFresh/SNAP (food stamps); the discounted price increases to $5/month after the first year. Applicants for Bike Share for All can pay with a credit card or debit card online, or with cash at four locations around the region.
The ongoing outreach effort for Bike Share for All has been spearheaded by local nonprofit TransForm, which partnered with the Bay Area’s three largest bike coalitions — the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Bike East Bay and Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition — and grassroots community-based organizations, with the goal of increasing awareness of Ford GoBike’s discounted memberships. The outreach effort is jointly sponsored by the Ford GoBike and MTC.
In order to build a strong base of bike share users that reflects the diversity of the region, the Bike Share for All outreach has focused on serving the most disadvantaged communities in the Bay Area. Ten community ambassadors, who are all local residents recruited and trained by the local community-based organizations, have been deployed around the region to raise awareness of bike share and biking in general with residents in communities of color where there are known barriers to entry for bike share. The cash payment option available through Bike Share for All has also been instrumental in reducing barriers to participation by lower-income residents.
“We know the outreach program has made a difference, because one out of every three discounted members has interacted with the outreach teams,” said Kara Oberg, MTC’s bike share liaison. “It’s important to connect new bike share riders to the groups and resources that are best able to get them comfortable riding, particularly since bike share often attracts people who are new to or unfamiliar with biking.”
Key to the outreach effort are several local organizations that are trusted leaders in their communities — Oakland-based Scraper Bike Team and Cycles of Change, Chinese Newcomers Service Center in San Francisco and SF Yellow Bike Project. In addition to regular tabling and pop-up bike share membership drives, these groups have incorporated education about bike share into their existing program offerings like bike training courses, food distribution drives, bike repair classes and community rides.
When completed in 2018, the Bay Area’s 7,000-bike, 546-station Ford GoBike network will be the second-largest bike share system in North America, while setting new national standards in density, convenience and socio-economic equity. Biking is one of the least expensive and most environmentally friendly transportation options available today. In many cases, biking also cuts commute time. Bike share is one of the many ways cities can help increase mobility as well as meet sustainability goals, without increasing traffic and congestion.
To learn more about Ford GoBike’s Bike Share for All discounted membership program and apply, visit www.bikeshareforall.org.