Bike Share For All – By Nuala Sawyer – September 13, 2017 – California News

Bike Share For All – By Nuala Sawyer – September 13, 2017 – California News

Since Ford GoBikes hit San Francisco streets in late June, a number of controversies have flared. On NextDoor, neighbors have bemoaned the loss of parking spots and what they claim was a lack of comprehensive outreach. Tourist-oriented bike-rental companies attacked the program for a $15 three-hour “GoPass” that undercut their business — eventually forcing its removal. A section of the Mission District, Calle 24, has banned the bikes all together. The stations have been vandalized with paint and Sharpies, and bikes have had tires slashed. It’s been a bumpy start to this version of citywide bike share — remember BABS? — to say the least.

But one part of Ford GoBike’s program does appear to be working: reaching low-income communities. This week, the company announced that it had hit 500 members in the “Bike Share For All” initiative, which offers low-income residents in the Bay Area a full year of bike rentals for only $5. After one year, the rate increases to $5 per month, roughly one-third of the cost of normal membership. Eligibility is determined through membership to other low-income programs, such as Calfresh, SFMTA’s Lifeline Pass, or PG&E CARE’s utility discount.

“I can’t fully put into words how much security it gives me as a low-income, queer, trans person of color to know I can now just grab a bike in most of the places I frequent, and get myself home using bike share,” says Keiryn Darkwater, who lives in Oakland. “If my bank account hits zero, and I can’t even take transit, I can at least bike. It has taken a huge source of anxiety off my shoulders.”

The low-income membership goes hand-in-hand with the placement of Ford…

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