Bike Share for all? Or for the rich?
As St. Petersburg gets closer to launching a bike-share program, city officials are already thinking about how to guarantee the GPS-equipped, stylish bikes aren't just a cool urban plaything for tourists and wealthy downtown residents.
Making sure whatever bike share program developed by the city and the vendor offers access to the poor, who are less likely to have credit cards or even checking accounts, has been part of the conversation, said Evan Mory, the city's transportation manager.
The final two bidders have both included commitments to "social equity" in their bids, he said. Possibly, corporate sponsors could be persuaded to offer free or discounted monthly memberships, he said.
The city will select a winning bid next Friday, he said.
It's a conversation occurring across the country as more and more cities adopt bike share programs. Tampa, Orlando and Miami already have bike shares up and running.
Low-income residents are more likely use a bike as transportation, but have often been left out of bike share discussions.
Mory said St. Petersburg will be different. Stay tuned.