Relay Bike Share takes equity seriously and looks for ways to have bike share serve the entire city. To help achieve equity, Relay Bike Share has Steven Cousins as the Bike Share Inclusion Program Manager, a position established in collaboration with the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition to create equity and reduce barriers to access for this alternate mode of transportation.
Question: Define equity and inclusion. How does it relate to bike share?
Cousins: “Equity with mobility sharing means addressing those who are most in need and can benefit the most, particularly with help on first/last mile access to transit. Relay helps in this regard, by having hubs and virtual hubs at 14 of the 16 Marta Rail Stations within our service area. And we believe that those who bike the least need the most concessions on transportation and the easiest pathway to benefit from bicycling. Bike accessibility and availability in all communities are critical to having inclusive bike share.”
Question: How is Relay accessible and available?
Cousins: “When Relay expanded the system to 500 bikes, hubs in minority neighborhoods were among the very first installed. Relay has bikes in communities of concern, and where cycling is under-represented. Plus, we track and ensure availability of bicycles in areas with an equity focus. Our operations team makes sure that the hubs in these communities are always stocked with bikes on-the-ready.”
What else is important for bike share equity?
Cousins: “Payments can be a barrier to access. An immediate effort being undertaken is establishing a cash payment approach for renting bikes, to benefit those unbanked or without credit. We are underway with accepting payments from prepaid cash debit cards, and close to enabling cash transaction management through the SoBi app for our system. This makes it possible to rent without involving credit.” “Affordability is also key to having an inclusive bike share system, with pricing that is within reach for everyone. Relay does not have a one-size-fits-all pricing structure. There are multiple membership options with reasonable per rental pricing. A daily rider on our annual membership plan can experience a quarter a ride. And Relay has a very economical $5 per month plan for those on SNAP assistance.”
Question: Anything else on equity & inclusion?
Cousins: “An inclusive bike share system has to feel welcoming to its users. Relay participates with partners in regular outreach activities inviting people from under-represented communities to experience bike riding. There are efforts to make people in communities of concern feel comfortable to use the bicycles. I have reached-out to non-profits and other organizations with clients from under-represented groups to make them aware of bike share. The intent is to raise awareness of bike share for families, low-income people, those in communities of color and other stakeholders who can benefit from bike use. We have the goal of making bike share a reality to all, especially those economically or transportation challenged.”