Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 16th, 2017 at 12:44 pm
The City of Portland’s Biketown bank account just got a bit healthier. $750,000 healthier.
That’s the amount of a new sponsorship deal between the City’s bike share program and Kaiser Permanente. According to Dani Simons of Motivate, the company that operates Biketown, the deal will be spread out over five years (that’s $150,000 per year). With a $10 million investment, Nike is still the founding and title sponsor of Biketown. Kaiser’s cash will allow it to become the exclusive sponsor in the health insurance and health care industry category.
In exchange for their financial support, Kaiser will get branding on 25, or one-fourth of all Biketown stations. They’ll also get logo placement and other tie-ins inside the Biketown mobile app (which has been downloaded 41,176 times) and on the web-based version of the system map. When users click a station to reserve a bike, there’s a drop-down menu that allows them to shop for a health insurance plan right on the Biketown website. Here are a few screenshots of how it looks:
Kaiser has also joined Biketown’s group membership program in order to offer a bike share discount to their 11,000 employees in the northwest region.
Kaiser is no stranger to working with the City of Portland on active transporation initiatives: They’ve been the lead sponsor of the Bureau of Transportation’s Sunday Parkways program since its inception in 2010.
PBOT Commissioner Dan Saltzman said in a prepared statement today, “Not only is Biketown a great transportation option, but by getting people out and pedaling through Portland, it promotes public health.”
The City of Portland said Kaiser’s support will, “support high-quality Biketown operations year-round at no on-going cost to taxpayers.”
That last part about taxpayers is important. Despite the need for — and success of — bike share in Portland, politicians promised from the get-go that it would be provided without public subsidy. While we subsidize every other form of transit, because bike share uses bicycles, the politics have always been different. On Tuesday night during a joint meeting of the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committees, Commissioner Saltzman admitted he was wrong about bike share, “I was the most vocal critic of Biketown; but I’ll be the first to say I was wrong,” he said. Then Saltzman added, “But I still don’t want to fund it with city money.”
Biketown currently has 2,745 annual members and the system has been used by 45,542 people for 189,320 trips.