Users of bike share systems across America often don’t match the demographics of their cities. Although bikes can be a universally available mode of transportation, bike share riders are typically white and affluent.
To make bike share more available to a wider audience, the Better Bike Share Partnership administered by PeopleForBikes partnered with Indego, the new bike share program for the city of Philadelphia, PA. Indego launches on Thursday, April 23, 2015.
A grant from Better Bike Share funds 20 stations in underserved communities there, which the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia will work to engage, with a special focus on getting youth and their families involved in promoting bike share.
More than half of all Philadelphians below the poverty line live in the service area city officials have mapped out for bike share. It is these residents who could most benefit from a new affordable transportation option that connects them to jobs, healthcare, amenities and services.
“We have an obligation to create a system that works for the city and especially one that equally benefits those citizens living below the poverty line,” says Andrew Stober, the chief of staff in the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities. “We are going to be a living laboratory for figuring out how to do things better.”
PeopleForBikes will use their experience in Philadelphia to expand bike share usage in other cities, administering $900,000 in grant funding to bike share operators, cities and local nonprofits over the next three years to develop and implement strategies that increase bike share in their own underserved communities. Academic research will also be funded by the partnership.