THE LARGEST BIKE SHARE OPERATOR IN AMERICA, THOUGH JUST PURCHASED BY LYFT, WILL KEEP ITS BROOKLYN ROOTS, AND MISSION

BY EVAN MONROE

Though year end figures for 2018 are not available, they are set to exceed the already encouraging bike rideshare market of 2017. In that year, according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials, 35 million such ridesharing trips were taken, a more than 25% increase from the prior twelve months. Additionally, the number of shareable bikes in the United States more than doubled in 2017, from 42,500 to better than 100,000. Closer to home, the Citi Bike program has found slightly limited midyear expansion, owing in part to the de Blasio administration’s concern that new docking stations will absorb too many parking spaces. It’s walking back an earlier agreement in which City Hall promised to expand the network by 50% over the next two years.

The corporate brainchild behind not just Citi Bike’s execution and growth (in both NYC and Jersey City) but also GoBike in the San Francisco Bay Area, CoGo in Columbus, OH, Blue Bikes in Boston, and four other urban share systems is Industry City based Motivate, the largest bike share operator in the nation. e company essentially brings together governments and corporate brands creating public/private partnerships that plan systems and fund bike share projects, applying user fees (Citi Bike membership is $14.95 per month, or $169 per year if paid in full) along with corporate sponsorships.

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And it takes a corporation to make these things happen. More than 200 stakeholder meetings were required in order to plan the Bay Area system, along with (for all share programs) geographic information system (GIS) based demand studies, community outreach to elicit local feedback, and obtaining permits for station placements. Motivate’s marketing arm throws pretty much monthly events, too; October was Women’s Bike Month in New York, for example, launched with a group bike ride on October 1st, led by the Co Chair of the New York City Council Women’s Caucus, Council Member Carlina Rivera. On October 20th, the young leaders of Girl Up chapters in the New York City metropolitan area came together and led an additional group ride.

Car sharing company Lyft purchased Motivate in July, though operations remain in Brooklyn, and day to day activities remain unchanged.

“Lyft and Motivate have both been committed for years to the goal of reducing the need for car ownership by providing reliable and affordable ways to move around cities,” said John Zimmer, Lyft cofounder and president. “[We] will accelerate our collaboration with cities and deliver even better experiences to passengers and riders,” with Motivate Executive Chairman Steve Koch adding that, “How we get around is changing rapidly, and this partnership will bring new resources and energy to making sure that bike share plays a fundamental role in new urban mobility. Together, we believe that integrating our services in partnership with the public sector will transform the transportation landscape, increase bike ridership, and make cities better.”

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Motivate
220 36th Street, Unit 93, Industry City
motivateco.com