Tag: BIKETOWN

BIKETOWN’s Free Ride Program

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.

New Bike-Share Stations Arrive

Yesterday, crews from BIKETOWN installed new bike-share stations on SE 81st Ave just south of E Burnside Street. Its construction follows another recently built unit on NE Glisan Street west of 80th Ave. When completed, the 81st Ave location will house docks for up to six e-bikes available to rent through the BIKETOWN mobile app.

Last June, a survey conducted by BIKETOWN gathered community input on where to place new electric bicycle (e-bike) docks as part of the program’s East Portland expansion. A few months later, that survey data and other factors are guiding the placement of these stations. The BIKETOWN bike finder map currently shows the new station on SE 81st Ave as available for use. However, no bikes are listed there, and the stand is missing the vertical sign that displays user instructions. This bike-share location is near Walgreens Pharmacy on the road behind Hong Phat. The station’s proximity to the number 20 and 72 TriMet bus lines should reduce excessive walking for riders not directly on the bus route.

Station on NE Glisan Street showing user instructions.

Several blocks north from the uncompleted station, BIKETOWN staff finished an identical installation on NE Glisan Street. Crews completed this location last week, and it is fully operational. Workers placed the docks on the sidewalk in front of Glisan Dental, away from traffic. The SE 81st Ave docks sit in the road’s parking lane, relying on white traffic delineator posts to protect the parked bikes.

Station on NE Glisan Street.

BIKETOWN docking stations are simple installations that securely hold locked bikes. They do not provide any charging for e-bikes. Instead, BIKETOWN offers these locations as a reliable place for customers to find and return bikes. Throughout the week, staff redistributes bikes to these locations after collecting units left in remote areas. Each e-bike has a removable battery pack that employees can replace before putting them back out for use.

BIKETOWN van used for redistribution.

Since the expansion of the BIKETOWN network in late 2020, sightings of the iconic orange bikes throughout Montavilla and greater East Portland have increased. Often they are found secured to signposts and fences. The installation of more bike docking stations will transform the scattering of transportation options into a reliable network of mobility devices. Their new consistent location gives residents the confidence to bridge the transportation gap for short trips without a personal vehicle. Businesses near the docks should also see a boost in visitors, as patrons can expect to find a bike ready for them when they head home. Look for these docks next time you plan a short trip around Montavilla and see if an e-bike can enhance your mobility.

Station on SE 81st Ave partially completed.

Correction – fixed typo of store name Hong Phat

Expanding BIKETOWN Survey

The iconic orange BIKETOWN bike-share program is poised to expand its service area and place new docking stations in underserved areas. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is conducting a survey to evaluate service area boundaries and analyze where new stations are needed. Participation in this outreach program can influence the availability of short-term bicycle rentals within Montavilla and the outer Eastside.

Last September, BIKETOWN’s service area expanded by 13 square miles to include Montavilla. Launched in July 2016, the original program made 1,000 bikes available in Central Portlands. Recent changes to the program electrified the fleet of bikes, making them more accessible to riders of all skill levels. There are now 1,500 electric pedal-assist bikes serving a larger area. When combined with TriMet’s transportation network, the e-bikes from Lyft allow Portlanders to travel throughout the city without the need to own a vehicle.

PBOT anticipates expanding the program 25 percent by the end of the year, taking the current 32 square mile service area up to 40 square miles. Private funding for the program primarily comes from Nike. Its initial $10 million investment sponsored the system’s first five years of operation. An additional $8 million sponsorship from Nike will fund the program through September 2025.

Availability of BIKETOWN docking stations increases visitors to commerce corridors in the city. They make car-free travel to an area easy to plan and alleviate parking congestion. Tourists often use short-term bicycle rentals to explore the city, making the placement of docking stations essential to identifying areas of interest. In addition to the survey, PBOT will engage local organizations seeking their input on where docking stations could best support communities.

Since September 2020, BIKETOWN has installed nearly 30 new stations across the city, with the majority being in North and East Portland. The survey results should help place new stations in areas currently underserved by bike infrastructure and services. Even if you have not used the program, participation in the survey could augment the service to better fit your future needs. Sharing your regional knowledge of streets and activity centers will support the effective placement of docking stations in the neighborhood.

Survey Link: https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/04abba44617f49a9b496fc507962fdec

BIKETOWN’s Electric Bike Eastside Expansion

The BIKETOWN bike-share program expanded into Montavilla this month, for the first time making bikes available for riders to rent in the area. With the program’s expansion, Portland is replacing the older bikes that first arrived in 2016. The new bicycles are all new pedal-assist electric bikes. These bikes will help average riders make the long trip downtown and back without an excessive amount of effort.

Previous to this expansion of the program, residents would only see the orange BIKETOWN bikes in Montavilla when someone had taken them out of their designated area. Now they can be seen all over the neighborhood, with a concentration around the Portland Community College campus.

The BIKETOWN website and the new BIKETOWN app (iPhone/Android) shows available bike locations near you. Additionally, thanks to a partnership with the ride-hailing app Lyft, riders can now rent e-bikes through the Lyft app. In addition to Lyft, the program sponsors are Nike, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), and Kaiser Permanente.

BIKETOWN begins rolling out the expanded service this month, starting with 500 of the new e-bikes. That fleet will grow the to 1,500 e-bikes over the coming weeks. The 1,000 older BIKETOWN bicycles from 2016 are being removed from service as the new e-bikes become available.

The expanded coverage and new pedal-assist electric bikes come at a cost. The program is increasing its fares at all levels, leading some to question the choice of going all-electric. Regardless of its long term pricing effects, this is a growth opportunity for Montavilla’s transportation options.

We live in a bike-friendly city, and BIKETOWN continues to make that mode of transportation more accessible to all rider. The next few weeks will have summer-like weather, making now a great time to try out the new bikes. 

Expanded travel area in orange. Map by Portland Bureau of Transportation.

Read Patricia Sanders’ The bicycle craze comes to Montavilla for a historical look at bicycles in Montavilla.