New program reduces bike share annual membership for Boston residents; City expanding Bluebikes system
BOSTON – Thursday, October 12, 2023 – Today, Mayor Michelle Wu announced the Boston Bikes Pass, a discounted annual Bluebikes membership for Boston residents that saves residents more than half the cost of the annual rate. As part of the Boston Bikes Pass, the City is also launching an even more discounted annual pass for income-eligible Boston residents. The City is launching the Boston Bikes Pass as part of a short-term pilot program (running now through June 2024) to explore options for making travel by bike more affordable and to bolster the growing demand for Bluebikes, Metro Boston’s public bike share system. Videos explaining the new program are available on Mayor Wu’s Instagram in English and Spanish.
“Boston residents deserve access to sustainable, affordable transit, and the Boston Bikes Pass will help Bostonians get around the city by removing financial barriers,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I encourage our residents to take advantage of these new rates to commute, connect, and explore in our beautiful city, and I’m thankful to our city team and partners such as Blue Cross Blue Shield who have made the Boston Bikes Pass possible.”
Boston residents who have not had an annual Bluebikes membership in the last three years are eligible for the $60/year membership, compared to the regular rate of $129 per year. Boston residents who qualify for MassHealth, SNAP, or meet income guidelines can get an even more reduced rate at $5 per year, compared to regular income-eligible rate of $50 per year. Any Boston resident 16-years or older who meets income guidelines is eligible for the $5 annual pass, whether or not they have had a Bluebikes annual membership in the past.
“Bluebikes is an important part of our public transit system that provides reliable, affordable biking options for riders of all levels,” said Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Chief of Streets. “We are especially grateful for the generous support of BlueCross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts whose title sponsorship has paved the way for Bluebikes’ tremendous success.”
Boston continues to work towards a 100-station expansion of the bike share system. These new stations will fill gaps in high-demand areas, making the system more reliable for riders. Currently, nearly 90 percent of Boston households are within a 10 minute walk of a bike share station. The City’s goal is to establish stations within a three to five minute walk in denser residential neighborhoods and ensure that all major transit stations and stops are served by bike share stations. A map of existing Bluebikes stations can be found here.
“Mayor Wu’s commitment to launching the ‘Boston Bikes Pass’ reflects a visionary understanding of the bicycle’s transformative power as a catalyst for social change and equity in our beloved city,” said Elijah Evans, Executive Director of Bikes Not Bombs. “I am thrilled to see this initiative that aligns so closely with our mission. We firmly believe in using the bicycle as a vehicle for social change, advancing equity in Boston, and investing in a people-centered, climate resilient transportation system. The ‘Boston Bikes Pass’ will make Bluebikes more affordable and accessible, opening doors to transportation options for all residents. By prioritizing sustainability and promoting active modes of transportation, Mayor Wu is paving the way for a more inclusive and environmentally conscious future. We stand together in our commitment to creating positive change and building a thriving, equitable city for all Bostonians.”
“I’m thrilled to support the new affordable rates for Bluebikes membership,” said Maha Aslam, Project Manager, Transit + Streets at the LivableStreets Alliance. “Access to affordable transportation is a critical step toward a more sustainable and equitable future for all Bostonians. Let’s pedal together towards a greener, more affordable, and accessible Boston!”
Residents can apply for a Boston Bikes Pass by visiting boston.gov/bikepass and filling out the appropriate form. Those applying for the Income-Eligible Boston Bikes Pass will need to upload documents to verify enrollment in a public benefit program like SNAP, MassHealth, or to demonstrate a qualifying income. Once verified, residents will be sent instructions to sign up.
Today’s announcement comes at a time of growing ridership in the Bluebikes system. To date, riders have taken 2,950,000 trips on Bluebikes in 2023, with more than 400,000 in September alone.
Bluebikes is a public bike share system that is municipally owned, and jointly managed by Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Everett, and Somerville. As co-owners of the system, the municipalities invest in bikes and station equipment and execute station expansion plans in collaboration with residents. Blue Cross Blue Shield is the title sponsor. The municipalities contracted with Lyft to operate the system.
The Boston Bikes Pass builds off of Mayor Wu’s vision to make all forms of transportation affordable, convenient, and safe. Last month, Mayor Wu announced Mary Skelton Roberts as the city’s first representative on the MBTA Board of Directors, tasked with giving the City a more direct role in the region’s public transportation system. This summer, the City launched Boston Delivers, an e-cargo bike delivery pilot program aimed at supporting local businesses, reducing pollution, easing traffic congestion, and improving street safety. Boston’s Safety Surge, announced in May, is working to make our city streets safer by installing speed humps on eligible neighborhood streets, redesigning intersections, and implementing new guidelines for the City’s traffic signals. By the end of construction season this year, BTD plans to have 7.6 miles of new bike lanes completed, as previously announced last year by Mayor Wu.