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

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 *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Read more from the Meeting of the Minds Blog

Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology

Behavior Change Case Study: City Systems & Affordable Housing

In East Palo Alto, California, a multi-faceted, coalition-driven movement is afoot to assure wider access to affordable housing. This effort, informed by behavioral economics, is helping local homeowners understand and navigate the municipal permitting process for building a new accessory dwelling unit on their property. At the same time, this coalition, of which the nonprofit City Systems is a part, is working to streamline the process of legalizing informal conversion projects already completed without permit approvals in place. 

Redefining Philanthropy for Urban Resilience

Building fairness and greater equity means ensuring all Torontonians have access to and can capitalize on the positive opportunities on offer in our city. To do so, we need to be thoughtful stewards of what makes our city an excellent place to live.

The “new” philanthropy, as I see it, needs to play a role in getting us there. The new philanthropy is participatory. It thinks about and changes the distribution of power. It amplifies the voices of those with “living experience” of the challenges it aims to alleviate. It sets the kind of table where all can have a seat and share, in spite of the different perspectives that are on the menu. It aims to move the money equitably and disrupt giving patterns.

Planning Sustainable Public Transport Using an Intersectional Lens

I work to ensure that a more diverse point of view, especially the gender-specific, informs the planning, design, operations, and user experience of transport systems. Safe and reliable access to public transport is a key driver of so many issues we face as a society. Cities cannot aspire to being inclusive unless more attention is given to this aspect of sustainable transport.

Share This