Last week, BIKETOWN announced an expansion to their discounted membership program for low-income riders. Called BIKETOWN for All, the program now offers free 60-minute rides and expands to include some college students with a free membership or subsidized rides. These changes should dramatically increase access to the electric assist bike-share for all Portland State University (PSU) students, people living on low incomes, and college students on financial aid.
Portland hosts a variety of colleges and universities, with students housed throughout the city. Most public transportation routes serve those schools. However, some students still need additional mobility options that will not burden their limited budgets. Now, students who receive federal financial aid will qualify for a free BIKETOWN membership. Additionally, PSU students not eligible for BIKETOWN for All will be eligible for a ride credit to cover up to $20 a month of casual user fees.
Previously the BIKETOWN for All program was limited to people using recognizes assistance programs, including the Oregon Trail card (SNAP), Oregon Health Plan, or affordable housing. Starting on September 16th, the program will now recognize Federal Student Aid as a qualifying determination for eligibility. However, only when received by students attending school on a Portland campus.
With the expanded eligibility, every BIKETOWN for All member will receive additional discounts. BIKETOWN now waives the $5 monthly membership fee and offers an unlimited number of 60-minute rides a month. Riders incur a $0.05 per minute charge after the first hour of the bike rental. Before this week’s changes, the per-minute change began instantly. The discounted program continues to offer free bike unlocks and $20 in ride credits every month.
Although these changes will make many trips free, a BIKETOWN for All members ridding less than an hour could still generate charges. Bikes not parked at a BIKETOWN station will generate a $1 fee, except in the East Portland SuperHub Zone east of 72nd Avenue. Additionally, bikes parked outside the 32 square mile service area would receive a $5 out-of-service-area fee.
Portlanders who qualify can sign up at BIKETOWNforAll.com. College students will upload a digital copy of their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) award letter. PSU students should sign up at the PSU BIKETOWN website. These changes are a significant expansion to the program that recognizes the financial struggle some college students endure and makes the BIKETOWN for All program practical for low-income riders. Expect to see more Portland residents using these bikes as people discover the updated subsidy program that creates an affordable and valuable tool to get around the city.