Using bike share and scooter money for good

by: Stefani Cox

Citi Bike

Source: Jim Henderson via Wikipedia.

Cities everywhere are requiring system and membership fees to support micro mobility services, and there’s a conversation about what exactly to do with those funds.

All kinds of bike share and scooter systems require user fees to run. And with the recent rise of dockless bikes and scooters that can be left almost anywhere in a city, public officials are requiring the companies that manage them to pay fees. These fees are often seen as a compensation for access to the common right of way.

This practice leads to the question of what to do with the dollars collected through fees. One idea comes from Kansas City, whose council just decided to allocate money gathered from scooter fees to affordable housing. Each scooter owes $1 a day to the City, adding up to $300,000 a year.

There can also be a voluntary strategy to reaching such residents, as seen with Portland’s BIKETOWN, where current members can donate extra money left in their accounts to low-income riders without system access. A related example is from NYC Citi Bike’s Bike Angels program, where riders who gain discounts through helping to rebalance bikes can choose to donate their points in the same way.

These programs add up to relatively small amounts of money, which begs an examination of their significance in addressing financial barriers to low-income riders. But in the meantime, there certainly seem to be a number of people benefiting from the efforts.

Let us know if you’ve heard of other strategies for putting micro mobility memberships and fees to work for the public good.

The Better Bike Share Partnership is funded by The JPB Foundation as a collaborative between the City of Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the PeopleForBikes Foundation to build equitable and replicable bike share systems. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or sign up for our weekly newsletter. Story tip? Write stefani@betterbikeshare.org.