Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 11th, 2018 at 4:16 pm
Starting this Thursday, Portland State University students can use Biketown for free.
The partnership is part of a new agreement to cement the downtown campus as the cycling epicenter of Portland. PSU says the program will be paid for via auto parking revenue.
It’s a natural step for the campus that serves nearly 30,000 students and is one of only five colleges in the county that has earned a Platinum Bicycle Friendly University award from the League of American Bicyclists.
Last May, Biketown expanded service at PSU by making it a “super hub zone” where people can park bikes on any available rack without incurring a fee. At a meeting of the City of Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee last night, Bureau of Transporation Bike Share Program Manager Steve Hoyt-McBeth said usage rates at PSU have been “bezonkers” ever since. PSU is also
Under the new agreement, students can take unlimited trips and get up to 90 minutes of Biketown usage at no charge. The offer is available to any current student with a valid @pdx.edu email address. PSU staff and faculty can already get a discounted Biketown membership for $7 a month (with an annual commitment).
The PSU partnership comes after Biketown offered free rides to all users during the month of May. That experiment was wildly successful. The system broke its one-day trip record nine times and it added over 11,000 local first-time users. It begs the question: Why not make Biketown free for everyone, all-the-time?
Asked that question last night, Hoyt-McBeth said it’s an idea worthy of consideration. He estimated it cost them an extra $50,000 to make the system free during the month of May and the promotion was supported by Biketown’s operator, Motivate. That’s important because Portland City Council has made it clear that bike share cannot use public funds for operations. Hoyt-McBeth seemed open to the idea nevertheless. “It’s money that would have to come from somewhere,” he said. “Biketown is under strict direction from City Council to not use local funds, so it would require a change in the ordinance.”
PSU and Biketown will announce their partnership at a press conference tomorrow (July 12th) at 10:00 am at the PSU Urban Plaza.
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