The Key to Philadelphia’s Bike Share Access: Partnership

By Stefani Cox

Stefani Cox is Managing Editor for the Better Bike Share Partnership, a collaborative funded by The JPB Foundation between the City of Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials, and the PeopleForBikes Foundation to build equitable and replicable bike share systems.

Mar 25, 2019 | Mobility | 0 comments


Who will you meet?

Cities are innovating, companies are pivoting, and start-ups are growing. Like you, every urban practitioner has a remarkable story of insight and challenge from the past year.

Meet these peers and discuss the future of cities in the new Meeting of the Minds Executive Cohort Program. Replace boring virtual summits with facilitated, online, small-group discussions where you can make real connections with extraordinary, like-minded people.


 

Coordination is critical to achieving equity goals when it comes to affordability and community outreach for bike share systems. Chief among these strategies are discount programs, cash payment options, and ambassador cohorts.

Here’s a rundown on how Philadelphia worked across sectors toward each of these initiatives, as well as suggestions for other cities looking to do the same.

 

Philly as the Case Study

Philadelphia’s bike share equity initiatives are funded in part through the Better Bike Share Partnership, which seeks to discover and elevate best practices for bike share accessibility at the national level.

Philadelphia acts as ground zero for such best practices and has often set the precedent for other cities, major and small. The focus on affordability and outreach arose early on.

Partnership is the way that all of this affordability and outreach work has been so successful. Here are the key organizations on the Philadelphia stage that have coordinated to make bike share a local asset:

 

Making Bike Share Affordable

For many Philadelphians, bike share is simply too expensive to be a viable transportation option. Stakeholders understood that it was important to provide a discounted membership to enable all residents to access the system.

The Indego30 Access Pass allows anyone with a Philadelphia Access Pass, the local public benefits card, to use bike share for $5 a month. The membership includes 30 days of unlimited one-hour trips, and trips that exceed the hour are charged at a rate of $2 per hour. The pass has been immensely popular, with an estimated 10-15% of all Indego members enrolled in the program.

The key to the Access Pass success was to make sure from the beginning that it was as easy to sign up for as possible. Eligible residents only need to input their Access Pass number into Indego’s website to make use of the discounted option. While BTS figured out the technical side of setting up the Access Pass, the Coalition has been vital to getting the word out about this alternative, and encouraging individuals to enroll.

Additional resource:

Providing Multiple Payment Options

The other key to bike share affordability is providing a cash payment option. Some individuals may not have a credit or debit card, or they may be uninterested in connecting their card to the payment system. Providing an alternative payment method makes bike share more appealing to potential riders.

Indego bike share members can pay with cash by accessing any PayNearMe location. PayNearMe is provided at any Philadelphia 7-Eleven, CVS, Family Dollar, or Ace Cash Express, making it an easily-accessible way to pay for the service.

To set up the program, BTS researched various payment options that would both take cash and provide a network of physical locations where prospective riders could make their transactions. PayNearMe provided some of this infrastructure, while collaborating with oTIS, the Coalition, and other Philadelphia entities to provide enrollment assistance at KEYSPOT locations throughout the city.

Additional resource:

Sourcing from Strong Community Outreach

Philadelphia was one of the first cities to have a bike share ambassador program, and since then, countless cities have followed suit.

The ambassador program has taken off, and each year ambassadors lead outreach events and programming for a diversity of Philadelphians. Sourcing ambassadors from a variety of communities, particularly underserved areas, ensures that the word spreads about the system and that all community members feel like bike share is meant for them.

It’s important to make sure that community involvement also includes hiring directly from target communities, and that there are inclusion and retention efforts present for available positions.

Additional resources:

 

Collaboration Matters

Successful partnerships don’t just happen on their own. Key components of a successful partnership include clear communication, building shared priorities, and accountability check points.

It’s important for each organization in the partnership to know its role and strengths. While BTS manages the day-to-day operation of Indego and the behind-the-scenes work, oTIS manages equity initiatives and coordination, and the Coalition takes the lead on diverse outreach.

Additionally, Better Bike Share conferences have created opportunities for stakeholders throughout the country to come together for sharing resources and best practices that help make bike share more accessible to everyone.

See below for additional resources from the Better Bike Share Partnership:

 

For additional information about the Better Bike Share partnership, please reach out to Waffiyyah Murray, Better Bike Share Partnership Program Manager with the Philadelphia Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability: Waffiyyah.Murray@phila.gov.

Discussion

Leave your comment below, or reply to others.

Please note that this comment section is for thoughtful, on-topic discussions. Admin approval is required for all comments. Your comment may be edited if it contains grammatical errors. Low effort, self-promotional, or impolite comments will be deleted.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more from MeetingoftheMinds.org

Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology

How Affordable Green Housing Enhances Cities

How Affordable Green Housing Enhances Cities

Housing that is affordable to low-income residents is often substandard and suffering from deferred maintenance, exposing residents to poor air quality and high energy bills. This situation can exacerbate asthma and other respiratory health issues, and siphon scarce dollars from higher value items like more nutritious food, health care, or education. Providing safe, decent, affordable, and healthy housing is one way to address historic inequities in community investment. Engaging with affordable housing and other types of community benefit projects is an important first step toward fully integrating equity into the green building process. In creating a framework for going deeper on equity, our new book, the Blueprint for Affordable Housing (Island Press 2020), starts with the Convention on Human Rights and the fundamental right to housing.  

The Pandemic, Inequality, Housing Affordability, and Urban Land

The Pandemic, Inequality, Housing Affordability, and Urban Land

Since the Great Recession of 2008, the housing wealth gap has expanded to include not just Black and Brown Americans, but younger White Americans as well. Millennials and Generation Z Whites are now joining their Black and Brown peers in facing untenable housing precarity and blocked access to wealth. With wages stuck at 1980 levels and housing prices at least double (in inflation adjusted terms) what they were 40 years ago, many younger Americans, most with college degrees, are giving up on buying a home and even struggle to rent apartments suitable for raising a family.

What makes it hard for policy people and citizens to accept this truth is that we have not seen this problem in a very long time. Back in the 1920s of course, but not really since then. But this is actually an old problem that has come back to haunt us; a problem first articulated by Adam Smith in the 1700s.

Multi-modal Transit and the Public Realm

Multi-modal Transit and the Public Realm

More than ever, urban transit services are in need of sustainable and affordable solutions to better serve all members of our diverse communities, not least among them, those that are traditionally car-dependent. New mobility technologies can be a potential resource for local transit agencies to augment multi-modal connectivity across existing transit infrastructures.

We envision a new decentralized and distributed model that provides multi-modal access through nimble and flexible multi-modal Transit Districts, rather than through traditional, centralized, and often too expensive Multi-modal Transit Hubs. Working in collaboration with existing agencies, new micro-mobility technologies could provide greater and seamless access to existing transit infrastructure, while maximizing the potential of the public realm, creating an experience that many could enjoy beyond just catching the next bus or finding a scooter. So how would we go about it?

The Future of Cities

Mayors, planners, futurists, technologists, executives and advocates — hundreds of urban thought leaders publish on Meeting of the Minds. Sign up below to follow the future of cities.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Wait! Before You Leave —

Wait! Before You Leave —

Subscribe to receive updates on the Executive Cohort Program!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This