Hubway, Boston’s almost one-year old bikeshare program, is all the buzz in Boston. Only 10 weeks after its launch last summer, it only took 10 weeks to hit 100,000 rides – and as of now – a quarter million rides. With 40 more stations expected to pop up between now and the end of the summer, Hubway’s popularity is only expected to grow.
YPT Boston hosted Jessica Robertson, Transportation Coordinator at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, for a brownbag lunch on Tuesday, June 12. Jessica has been instrumental in coordinating Hubway, particularly the regionalization of the system (stations are expected in Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline this year).
Jessica spoke about many of Hubway’s successes:
- Hubway encourages helmet use. Through relationships with local businesses, Hubway encourages members to purchase discounted helmets near Hubway Stations. Hubway also hopes to pilot a sanitary helmet vending machine, built by MIT students, in the near future.
- Hubway is a regional system. The bikeshare system is designed to provide a seamless experience to the customers, although the back end systems are different for different municipalities. Hubway has been the first system to create a regional financial agreement.
- Hubway promotes public health. With over 27 million calories burned so far on Hubway, this system is making Boston a healthier place (one of Mayor Menino’s primary citywide initiatives). Bikeshare has also helped get people out of their cars: two-thirds of Hubway members also own cars and report replacing some car trips with Hubway rides.
Jessica also spoke about how Hubway can improve, particularly in terms of gender split: less than 1/3 of members are women. Hubway is also working to improve low-income access to bicycles. Finally, surprisingly, yearly membership is low for 18 to 22 year-olds, although they do see strong casual use (day-pass purchases) at stations adjacent to college campuses. Jessica also spoke about following the City of Toronto’s lead and expanding the Hubway program to run throughout the winter, cutting costs for assembling and removing stations in the spring and fall.
(Thanks to Tegin Teich, Vice Chair for Administration, and Kelly Chronley, Vice Chair for Fundraising, for their help with this blog post!)