What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
· Initially, expectations for bikeshare programs were high, but it was soon noticed that they were out of reach for low-income residents of color. Fast Company explains how Citi Bike is expanding access to bikeshare programs in New York by providing discounted monthly memberships to SNAP recipients.
· How is this program making a step toward equity? In what ways does it help low-income families? What else needs to be done to spread access to local bikeshare programs?
· Read about a Beijing artist who's working to design a bike that could help smoggy cities filter polluted air with every cycle.
When bikeshare programs first rolled out in cities a decade ago, the expectations were high: Not only would the bikes provide an easy, accessible, healthier alternative to taking a car, but they’d close frustrating gaps in urban public transit networks. Programs like Citi Bike in New York and Ford GoBike in the Bay Area have worked to deliver on these goals, but in the process, they’ve often failed to gain traction among left lower-income residents of color, who might benefit the most from the programs.
Not only are the majority of docked bikeshare stations located in higher-income, whiter neighborhoods, but the programs can be expensive–an annual Citi Bike membership totals $169. As such, a Portland State University study last year found that just 2% of low-income people of color surveyed were annual bikeshare members, despite the fact that a majority had interest in participating in the programs.
So lately, bikeshare systems have woken up. On July 17, Citi Bike announced a partnership with Healthfirst, a local health insurance provider, to offer discounted Citi Bike memberships for SNAP recipients in New York City. For $5 a month, as opposed to the normal $15 rate, SNAP participants 16 and older, around 1 million people, can sign up for a month-by-month membership. There’s no auto-renew or annual commitment baked into the program–if someone stops riding after the first 30 days, they won’t be charged.
Read the full article about New York’s bikeshare by Eillie Anzilotti at Fast Company.