This Week's Ride With Us, August 2nd Edition

This Week's Ride With Us, August 2nd Edition

by Keli Hoyt-Rupert

Keli is Zagster’s Director of Market Management -- she is responsible for a team of Market Managers that manages the relationships Zagster builds with our community partners. If you’re looking for news about our micro-mobility programs, Keli doesn’t just have a front-row seat, she’s in the game every day.

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Keli Hoyt-Rupert

Director, Market Management

Happy Friday! We hope you’re enjoying these “dog days” of Summer, perhaps on a bike or scooter. In this week’s newsletter, we’ll update you on our amazing community partners in Cumberland (GA) and Asbury Park (NJ). We’ll also look at Zagster’s bike donations, a new proposal in Congress to subsidize bike sharing, “bike equity” data indicating that bike share “power users” are more likely to have lower-incomes than not, and more. Let’s get this ride going!

News from Our Communities

Cumberland (GA). Bike riders in this Atlanta suburb have reason to celebrate! Cobb County, Georgia, where the City of Atlanta (and Cumberland) sits, has just opened an amazing, one-mile extension of its Bob Callan Trail. Zagster’s Cumberland bike share market manager Christy (as well as Ed from our Cumberland team) attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and educated attendees on our bike share program. The just-opened section of trail, according to The Cumberland Community Improvement District, “includes six new boardwalk sections, a steel truss bridge spanning a creek tributary, a viewing overlook and resting areas with benches at trail access points.” It’s a breathtakingly-beautiful greenspace where you can jump on a Zagster bike to enjoy 60 miles of trails right in busy Atlanta’s backyard.

Asbury Park (NJ). Connected to our upcoming launch of a scooter program (in partnership with Spin) in this Jersey Shore community, best known as the place where rock legend Bruce Springsteen got his start, Zagster’s Karl Alexander helped organize scooter safety sessions and rider demos this week in AP. No news on whether Karl ran into “the Boss” on the boardwalk. That said, rider safety (advanced in part by our continuing education efforts) is always our top concern.

Community Bike Donations. We typically replace bikes every 3 years in our bike share programs. These “used” bikes still have life in them, and we’d prefer to keep them contributing to our communities. We also don’t want to add to landfills and dumping grounds. As detailed in a must-read ZBlog post this week, Zagster donates bikes to community organizations that help families and young people build better lives. As Zagster’s David Romberger and Reid Wilson wrote, “the non-profit organizations we’ve already donated bikes to are working specifically with people of color and also helping underprivileged youth build life and business skills. We've also donated bikes designed for riders with physical disabilities. The major drivers of our bike donation partnerships have been inclusion, bike equity, helping the environment, and community-building.”

Other Micro-Mobility News

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We’re excited to see a new proposal by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA), a chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus, that balances the playing field when it comes to allocating federal funds to bike sharing. Funds are already used to subsidize local public transit systems. Everybody knows that bike sharing not only expands transportation options in communities, but provides major, positive impacts on air quality, reducing CO2 emissions. Federal funds should be incentivizing bike sharing’s positive impacts too, just as we incentivize public transit’s. As this StreetsBlog USA article explains, “if it is approved, the new law (the Bikeshare Transit Act of 2019) would make billions in new federal funds available to support bike share.” Zagster fully supports Rep. Pressley’s bike-friendly initiative.

We loved this important new article posted at The Conversation, Bike Sharing Isn’t Just for Rich Hipsters -- “Super Users” Have Lower Incomes. It offers clear and convincing evidence for something Zagster has known all  along: bike sharing is an equitable transit option for lower-income users in communities underserved by public transit and public services. The article looked at Vancouver’s bike share program in particular, finding that “super users (defined as people who make 20 or more bike share trips per month) tended to have lower incomes as compared to those who used it less often. Super users were two and a half times as likely to be in the lowest income category (with an annual household income below $35,000) as compared to the highest (over $150,000).” We can still do more to ensure we’re deploying bike sharing in lower income neighborhoods, but the need is clear.

Scooter companies have essentially introduced a new type of vehicle to the transportation landscape. They have an obligation to make sure their customers know the rules of the road and adhere to the proper etiquette governing how to ride and park the vehicles.

A terrific Los Angeles Times editorial this week weighed in on the city’s year-long scooter pilot (note: neither Zagster nor Spin are involved in this pilot): “the city is split at the moment into two camps: scooter lovers, who say the rent-per-ride vehicles are a cheap, convenient way to travel short distances without getting into a car, thereby helping reduce tailpipe pollution and traffic congestion. And scooter haters, who say the vehicles are big, possibly dangerous toys being used irresponsibly and left cluttering the sidewalks when the joy ride is over. They’re both right.” Zagster agrees, which is why we always place priority on educating scooter riders on safe and responsible use. To unlock the benefits of shared scooters, operators also need to manage issues around sidewalk congestion and safety. It’s the only way to drive community-based solutions.

Thanks for riding along, and have yourself a great (and safe) weekend!