After two and a half years of waiting, the City of New Orleans launched its anticipated bike-share program, Blue Bikes, earlier today. Blue Bikes announced 15 stations and 115 bikes across the city, ready for use starting today.
Social Bicycles, the company over Blue Bikes, and its title sponsor, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, held a launch party at the Lafitte Greenway near Lemann Pool, showcasing over 100 Blue Bikes. Mayor Mitch Landrieu, city officials, and community advocates test-rode the bikes from Lafitte Greenway at Jefferson Davis Parkway to Lemann Pool before the celebration.
“It’s the beginning of a new public transportation system here in New Orleans,” said Ryan Rzepecki, the CEO of Social Bicycles. “One that is affordable and accessible to everyone here. And, to be very clear, this is not just a tourist amenity. This is something the local community can use to get to jobs…[and] explore the city in a different way.”
City officials, such as Mayor Landrieu, support Rzepecki’s vision of bike sharing in the city, saying it will help “people make a living” and become another way for locals to get to their destinations.
As of December 5, there are 12 active stations across Mid-City, Treme, the Lower Garden District, Central Business District, and Central City listed on the official Blue Bikes website. City officials have promised a total of 70 stations and over 700 bicycles by next year.
Users can purchase a $15/month plan that includes an hour’s worth of trips every day of the month, with a prorated charge of $8/hour afterward; a prorated pay-as-you-go option for $8/hour; or a $20/year low-income monthly pass that includes one hour’s worth of trips, with a prorated charge of $8/hour afterward.
The parent company over Blue Bikes, Social Bicycle, will be solely responsible for maintaining and funding New Orleans’s new bike-share program, city officials reported earlier this year.