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News Release: BIKETOWN for All reduced fare program makes changes to address skyrocketing growth

Press Release
Started in 2016, program will continue to provide free rides to people living on low incomes

Changes will help ensure the long-term financial sustainability
Published
Updated

(May 30, 2024) BIKETOWN for All, Portland's bike-share program for people living on low incomes, is making some changes to become more financially sustainable.  

Founded in 2016, the reduced fare program has seen exponential growth in members and trips, growing from 169 members in 2020, to 4,270 today. The changes are being instituted to stem rising costs and to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the program.  

In 2023, BIKETOWN for All riders took 376,000 trips, an increase of 86% from 2022. This represents 59% of BIKETOWN’s total 2023 trips, among the highest utilization rates for any bike-share equity program in North America.


BIKETOWN for All is recognized nationally for its reach and impact. PBOT partnered in 2023 with 20 social service and community-based organizations to grow the program. See the 2023 BIKETOWN Snapshot for more information. 

"Equity programs that subsidize the cost of shared micromobility for low-income residents are an important part of transportation equity and how sustainable transportation options can serve everyone," said Sam Herr, Executive Director of the North American Bikeshare & Scootershare Association. "BIKETOWN has made equity a pillar of the program from the beginning. With over half of trips made by BIKETOWN for All riders, Portland has one of the most popular equity programs in the country."

Details for members at the BIKETOWN for All website

Adjustments start today for eligibility and June 11 for benefit changes 

Adjustments to the program will put it on a path to more sustainable growth.  

Effective immediately, eligibility criteria will change to better focus on Portlanders with the lowest incomes. Individuals enrolled in the following programs will continue to qualify for BIKETOWN for All: Affordable housing assistance, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Oregon Health Plan, Pell Grant, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), TriMet Honored Citizen Pass – Low Income, and unemployment assistance. 

Qualifying for federal college financial aid or a TriMet Honored Citizen pass will no longer be enough to qualify for the program. College students receiving Pell Grants and TriMet Honored Citizen Pass Low Income cardholders will continue to meet the requirements. Otherwise, eligibility criteria will remain the same.    

The new eligibility criteria will not affect existing BIKETOWN for All members until their current 12-month memberships expires. 

Effective June 11, the BIKETOWN for All ride benefit will change to a free $10 monthly ride credit, covering rides at a rate of 5 cents per minute and $1 convenience fees for parking away from a station. This corresponds to 200 free ride minutes per month, not counting convenience fees. Rides that end at a public bike rack in the Super Hub Zone within the service area (from 72nd Avenue to the eastern edge of the service area) also do not incur a parking fee.  

Free membership, average cost $5.40 per year for the average rider 

BIKETOWN for All membership will continue to be free for those who qualify. If a rider ended all of their trips at a BIKETOWN station or anywhere within the Super Hub Zone in East Portland, the average BIKETOWN for All rider would have no charge for using the system. The $10 monthly ride credit is enough to cover the average BIKETOWN for All rider, who takes an average of nine trips a month, and more in summer months. In peak summer months, the average rider logs 196 minutes a month, within the 200 minutes a month covered by the $10 monthly credit. 

Under the new rules, PBOT estimates that the average BIKETOWN for All user would pay $5.40 a year in out of station parking convenience fees, based on the average for BIKETOWN for All riders. 

The monthly benefit change will go into effect on June 11. The expiring benefit provided unlimited, free 60-minute trips.  

All riders are encouraged to lock their bikes to racks at one of the 240 BIKETOWN stations at the end of their trips. Doing so eliminates the $1 convenience fee and helps other riders easily find bikes. BIKETOWN users can also sign up for Bike Angels, a BIKETOWN program where users can receive ride credit and other benefits for locking bikes at BIKETOWN station racks at the end of their trip.  

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About BIKETOWN 

BIKETOWN is Portland’s bike-share system, launched on July 19, 2016, with 1,000 bikes available to ride from one point to another for a small fee. BIKETOWN is now composed of 2,000 electric pedal-assist bicycles serving a 41 square mile service area, including portions of East Portland. BIKETOWN is a partnership between the City of Portland’s Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and Nike, the program’s founding partner and sole title sponsor. BIKETOWN is operated by Lyft, the world’s leading bikeshare operator. Using either the Lyft or BIKETOWN app, riders can easily find, rent, and park a BIKETOWN bike. BIKETOWN is designed to be affordable and accessible, encouraging even more Portlanders to ride and allowing visitors to experience the city by bike. biketownpdx.com

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the city’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. portland.gov/transportation
 

Contact

BIKETOWN information

phone number311General BIKETOWN assistance from city staff, help signing up for programs. Available Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (excluding federal holidays). Translation services available.
Oregon Relay Service711Oregon Relay Service

BIKETOWN account issues

Lyft customer service