The City of Portland just announced an important update to its Biketown for All program that makes it even easier for low-income residents to access to bike share.
As of today, anyone with an Oregon Trail Card is now automatically eligible to take part in the program. PBOT has launched a new online registration form that streamlines the sign-up process. The latest data from the Oregon Department of Human Services indicate there are about 70,000 individuals in the Portland area who have an Oregon Trail Card.
When Biketown for All first launched last year, would-be participants had to be referred into the program by social service organizations (which include: Alder House, Harsch Properties, UGM Women and Children, Home Forward, Central City Concern, Street Roots, Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA), Pacific Towers, Lagunitas, Sisters of the Road, Elders in Action NW, Cascade AIDS Project, Impact NW, and Humboldt Gardens). After the referral, a workshop was mandatory to establish eligibility. (Program partner The Community Cycling Center has hosted 38 workshops since last October.)
Now people who have an Oregon Trail Card can sign up for a membership online (and the workshops are optional).
Biketown for All memberships are just $3 per month — compared to $12 a month — and come with unlimited free rides of up to 90 minutes per trip. One other perk enjoyed by Biketown for All members: They don’t get fined $2 for parking bikes outside of a designated station.
In 2015 we reported that PBOT wanted to expand Biketown to food stamp card holders; but faced several hurdles including privacy concerns. Another concern was that the system has a limited number of bikes (1,000) and it has to turn a profit. If too many bikes are used by people not paying full fares, it would eat into system revenues. “We can’t run a system based on people who can’t pay,” Biketown Project Manager Steve Hoyt-McBeth told us at the time.
PBOT has mitigated that issue by using a grant from the Better Bike Share Partnership and an in-kind donation of up to $54,000 (good for 500 annual memberships) from Biketown operator Motivate, Inc. to subsidize the program. PBOT says there are currently 166 Biketown for All members.
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