Subsidizing Bike Share for Low-Income Riders
As bike share becomes more common around the United States, programs are looking for ways to get low-income riders involved by subsidizing their rides. "On July 17, Citi Bike announced a partnership with Healthfirst, a local health insurance provider, to offer discounted Citi Bike memberships for SNAP recipients in New York City," Eillie Anzilotti writes for Fast Company. Citi Bikes, which, along with a number of other bike share programs, was recently bought by Lyft, hopes the subsidized memberships will bring in riders who might not have wanted to spend the $169 it normally costs to rent a bike for a year.
Subsidies for bike share are already in place in cities around the country, including Chicago where SNAP recipients are already eligible for $5-per-month memberships. "In 2016, Capitol Bikeshare in Washington, D.C. began offering $5 annual memberships for residents that received services through a collection of community organizations, like Back on My Feet, a nonprofit that combines running with homeless services, and Jubilee Jobs, an employment services program," Anzilotti writes.
Still, price is not the only hurdle low-income bike share users face. Docks for bike shares are often concentrated in richer areas, also there's the matter of finding out about available discounted rates. Those who don't know about these programs may be paying more than they need to or not considering bike share at all.