Starting in 2017, Bay Area Bike Share will offer discounted service at just $5 for participating low-income households. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/ Special to S.F. Examiner)

Bike share program to offer low-income discounts

In a first for the fledgling program, Bay Area Bike Share will offer heavily discounted memberships to low-income households.

That discount will launch in 2017, when the number of bikes available to “share” is expanded from 700 to 7,000.

The discount arrives amid the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s “Bike Share for All” campaign, voicing that Bay Area Bike Share, which allows users to rent bikes and drop them off at stations across The City, may be inaccessible to some minority and low-income people.

It seems Bay Area Bike Share and its parent company, Motivate, agreed.

The discount will be $5 for the first year and $5 a month to low-income residents. The program will also accept cash, which is a boon to communities without access to banks. Eligibility will be determined by qualification for lifeline programs used by utilities like PG&E, according to Motivate.

That’s compared to the normal fee of $88 annually, or $9 for a 24-hour period.

Motivate and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission will fund community organizations $260,000 to spread the word directly to low-income and minority communities they serve.

When Bay Area Bike Share launches its new Phase 2 fleet expansion vehicles next spring, it will be renamed Ford GoBike. Those recently announced expansion sites have new bike share stations across the Mission, in Mission Bay and along a popular east-west bike route called “The Wiggle.”

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