Buses and trains tend to be the first things that come to mind when we think public transportation, but bikeshare programs like Bluebikes are growing increasingly fast as an affordable and fun alternative mode of public transit. During the Orange Line shutdown earlier this year, Bluebike ridership skyrocketed as folks looked for alternatives to the delayed and packed shuttle buses. Compared to the same stretch of months in 2021, ridership in 2022 was 53% higher, a massive increase!
Just in that single month long stretch, Bluebikes all-time ridership record was broken 10 times. While some of this was folks waiting for the train to reopen, many folks who had never used the Bluebike system fell in love.
The freedom of being able to ride at your own pace through your own route can seem like a luxury with public transit, but Bluebikes has enabled that for so many people! And with our $5/year discounted Bluebike passes for income-limited persons, it’s affordable too! If you want to learn more about our discounted passes you can read more and apply here!
In the meantime, here are some stories from Boston residents who are regular Bluebike riders:
Rachelle (she/her), Roxbury
I work as a Sales Associate at Urban Outfitters. Before the discounted Bluebikes membership my usual way of getting around was the MBTA. To get to work I would take the 1 bus, then the train, then walk. The bus and trains sometimes ran late, so I would get very annoyed and frustrated a lot of the time, it would mess up my whole entire day and I’d be late to work and have to explain it to my boss. It’d ruin my mood.
The discounted Bluebikes membership has allowed me to get to where I need to go on my own time. I don’t have to rely on a bus or a train. I get to where I need to go smoother and faster.
On my days off I’ll ride around the neighborhood and get some exercise and fresh air and enjoy the neighborhood I live in.
When I’m riding a bike I feel so free, I feel like a kid again. It feels great to ride a bike, it’s a great way to exercise and I love it so much. The discounted $5 membership makes it accessible for more people. More people should be able to take advantage of the membership. You can use it for anything, leisure, exercise, transportation.
Brendan (they/he), Allston
Before the discounted Bluebikes membership, I used the T or Lyft/Uber if there were delays, primarily the Green Line. I was spending a lot more money than I needed to.
The discounted membership has made it easier to get around Boston, especially when you’re further down the Green Line where things don’t connect and there’s a lot of transfers. It definitely helps a lot late at night when the trains aren’t running. It makes Boston more accessible.
There’s not a lot of spaces to lock up bikes in public and theft is pretty common, that’s the main reason why I need Bluebikes instead.
During Pride Month I Bluebiked to and from the LGBTQ+ Bar Fest and when leaving Gaybash’d I biked the whole way home with some friends at 2am. It was so fun, I was the one leading the group and I felt really comfortable.
I work in Fenway so it’s nice to just do a quick bike ride during my lunch break if I need to pick up a prescription in the middle of the workday or something, it’s more convenient than walking 30 minutes.
$50 or $100 is kind of a lot to pay at once, but $5 for an entire year is really enticing. If it wasn’t so cheap I wouldn’t be so inclined to use it. It would be great if the City of Boston subsidized Bluebikes for everyone, it would get a lot more people on bikes.
I’m from Kenya. I saw a flyer for the discounted program in my mosque.
The biggest challenge without a bike was the cold. If I took a bike right now a trip would take me 9 minutes or 10 minutes, but walking would take me 20 minutes, imagine that in the cold!
The main thing Bluebikes has helped is with my emotional health, every time I take the bike I get a lot of joy from it. It’s like a dream, I live my dream when I ride the bike.
Before I had the discounted membership, my mom used to say “why do you waste a lot of money on the bike?” because it was $3 per ride. Anytime I had a little money I would spend it on Bluebikes. Now that I have the discounted membership I can use it anytime.
Brianna (she/her) – Fenway
Before I had the discounted membership, I either took the T, which was sometimes unreliable, walked, which did take quite a while, or I called an Uber which was kinda expensive.
Now, if I am going somewhere that’s 30 min away it’s almost always a quicker bike ride than to take the T and less expensive than the Ubers
There are some holes in the Boston T system. When it’s too far to walk and Uber is too expensive I might as well just bike.
Biking puts me in such a good mood, it brings me back to my childhood, it’s so fun and freeing. I literally have a biking playlist, it’s also nice because I’m usually just focusing on scenery, it gives you a different perspective of your city. When you’re walking you’re often on your phone.
$5 is just so accessible for a lot more people than the full $100 membership. At that high price point a lot of people think “well maybe I’ll just buy my own bike,” that’s what I thought but it was too expensive. So I ended up using the discounted Bluebikes membership and I really liked it.
Jasmine, she/her, Dorchester
Before the discounted Bluebikes membership I mostly took public transportation. Some of the challenges were the cost, feeling unsafe, and delays which have made me late to work many times.
I’ve been assaulted on the MBTA, it was really traumatic. One time my card wouldn’t go through and the bus driver was yelling at me telling me to get off the bus, and he wouldn’t look at my email saying my youth pass was valid. He called the cops, and I recorded him during the incident, and he snatched my phone and threw it across the bus. It was so traumatic and nothing happened about it.
This membership has opened up another transportation option. The first time riding, I felt like a kid again. It was so nice to ride a bike after so many years. I have to take two buses to get my job, and now I take one bus and bike the rest of the way.
This discounted membership saved me when I needed to get home during Carnival and a lot of the streets in Dorchester were blocked off and the buses weren’t running in certain areas, so the closest bus stop was over a 20 minute walk away. At 10pm at night after work I was so anxious and felt unsafe being a woman alone on the streets. I saw a Bluebike station nearby and hopped on it and got home in 7 minutes, it was such a relief. It was a miracle. I was extremely grateful to have this membership that night.
I would never have gotten the membership if it cost $50. In the times of inflation and exorbitant costs left and right, this truly is a treat.
Being a woman, it’s important to have more transportation options in case you don’t feel safe on the bus or while walking.