Greater Boston Cities Expand Ebike Sharing with New Bluebikes

Greater Boston bikeshare system plans to add 750 ebikes to growing fleet as Blue Cross extends its title sponsorship to 2031

The cities of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Everett, the town of Brookline, Blue Cross BlueShield and Lyft today announced plans to integrate 750 next-generation ebikes into Greater Boston’s popular Bluebikes program and the renewal of Blue Cross’ title sponsorship through May 2031.

The rollout will begin with 50 ebikes hitting the street this week; an additional 700 will join the fleet in subsequent months.

“Today marks an exciting milestone as we usher in the next wave of transportation in Greater Boston with the introduction of state-of-the-art e-bikes,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said. “Partnerships such as our Bluebikes alliance with Blue Cross are crucial in ensuring our residents have access to healthier, more sustainable, and affordable transportation options. We look forward to continued collaboration with Blue Cross and all our municipal partners as we elevate our bike share system.”

“Bluebikes have become an integral part of so many communities in and around Boston, and we are thrilled to continue supporting the system,” said Blue Cross President and CEO Sarah Iselin. “We’re looking forward to the next chapter of partnership with the cities and towns through the renewal of our Bluebikes sponsorship. Biking is truly one of the best ways to get around, benefiting the environment as well as our mental and physical health. And adding ebikes to the Bluebikes system is an important step toward making biking more accessible to more people.”

The new collection of ebikes is expected to grow the overall Bluebikes fleet to 5,000 bikes across 500 stations by next summer. Funding for the initial purchase of the ebikes came from a combination of municipal investment from Boston and Cambridge, state funding, federal funding by the Boston Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and support from Blue Cross’s sponsorship of the bikeshare system. Together, Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Blue Cross will provide support for affordable user costs of ebikes for Bluebikes members.

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The state’s largest health plan became Bluebikes’ title sponsor in 2018. Since the inception of the Bluebikes partnership, the municipal owners – in conjunction with Blue Cross – have made investments, received grants and fostered station sponsorships to accomplish system milestones, including: 

  • Expanding the system from four to 13 municipalities, representing a 225% increase
  • Supporting a 333% growth in the number of available Bluebikes and a 150% expansion in the number of Bluebikes stations
  • Bolstering the income-eligible program
  • Surpassing 22 million rides taken

“The City of Cambridge is proud to support more affordable, sustainable, and healthier forms of transportation and extend what has been a win-win public-private partnership,” said Cambridge City Manager Yi-An Huang. “Bluebikes have become a critical part of Cambridge’s public transportation system and I am excited that the system is becoming even more accessible through the addition of ebikes to the Bluebikes fleet, which will open up the system to more older adults, people with disabilities, and others who may find traditional bikes hard to pedal. It will also create more opportunities for individuals seeking to maximize their time and access to our busy communities, while reducing traffic congestion.”

Lyft’s ebike was named one of TIME’s 100 Best Inventions of 2022. It features a long-lasting battery with a 60-mile range, a user-friendly interface LCD screen, a smoother ride and numerous safety upgrades. Massachusetts legalized Class 1 ebikes, which have no throttle and a maximum speed of 20 MPH, as part of the Transportation Bond Bill last year. Unlike traditional pedal bikes, ebikes aren’t permitted on sidewalks; they can be used on shared paths and bike lanes. Riders must follow all traffic laws and regulations and must bike in the same direction of traffic except on specially marked streets. Riders must always yield to pedestrians, maintain a safe speed and remain aware of all street users of all abilities. 

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“Somerville takes great pride in our regional, public-owned Bluebikes system, which is already one of the most successful bikeshare systems in North America,” said Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne. “Bikeshare is public transit, and I believe that affordable, pedal-assist ebikes can improve travel choices for people across the metro region.”

“Bluebikes is getting our newest ebike, which has cutting-edge features that riders love,” said Caroline Samponaro, VP of Public Policy, Lyft. “These ebikes make it easier than ever for people to reach jobs, family, and friends with sustainable, climate-friendly transportation that gets cars off our roads. I want to thank Mayor Wu, all the Bluebikes municipal owners, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts for their continued investment and partnership in Bluebikes. Without them, Bluebikes wouldn’t be the tremendous success it is today.”

The municipal owners have prioritized access and affordability for the new Bluebikes ebikes, which will be available at $0.10 per minute for Bluebikes members, $0.25 per minute for Adventure Pass holders, and $0.07 per minute for low-income residents enrolled in Bluebikes’ Income-Eligible Program. Income-eligible riders are provided a reduced annual fee for Bluebikes. Earlier this year, Boston also announced the Boston Bikes Pass, which is a Bluebikes membership offered only to City of Boston residents at a reduced annual rate of $60. Learn more discounted Bluebikes rates at https://www.boston.gov/departments/boston-bikes/discounted-bluebikes.