Thursday, July 29, 2021

NOLA: MAYOR CANTRELL ANNOUNCES RETURN OF BLUE BIKES BIKE SHARE PROGRAM TO NEW ORLEANS

 

A fleet of 500 pedal-assist e-bikes will be ready to ride by Sept. 1

 

 

 

City of New Orleans Logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

July 28, 2021


Contact: LaTonya Norton

For Media Inquiries Only
communications@nola.gov
(504) 658-4962

MAYOR CANTRELL ANNOUNCES RETURN OF BLUE BIKES BIKE SHARE PROGRAM TO NEW ORLEANS

People with bikes

 

NEW ORLEANS — Mayor LaToya Cantrell today announced that Blue Bikes, Louisiana’s first bike share program, will return to the City of New Orleans later this summer. A fleet of 500 pedal-assist e-bikes will be ready to ride by Sept. 1.

 

“The upcoming launch of Blue Bikes is a major accomplishment in our commitment to improve equity, connectivity, safety and efficiency in our transportation networks. Bike share is a critical component of our transportation system; people rely on it to get to work, and we are excited that 500 bikes will be back on the streets soon. We appreciate the partnership in the Greater New Orleans Foundation, which helped develop the new program, and are thankful for the return of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana as lead sponsor. Blue Bikes is returning better than before, with a greater focus on supporting our community every step of the way,” said Mayor Cantrell.

 

[WATCH: Blue Bikes press conference]

 

The city announced the relaunch of Blue Bikes in partnership with Blue Krewe, a local, community-based nonprofit organization that operates the program, and title sponsor Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.

 

Mayor Cantrell was also joined by Office of Transportation Director Laura Bryan and Policy and Program Manager Dan Jatres; President and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield Dr. I. Steven Udvarhelyi; Board Member of Blue Krewe Destinie Hammond; President & CEO of Greater New Orleans Foundation Andy Kopplin; and Executive Director of Bike Easy Dan Favre. 

 

About Blue Bikes 2.0

Blue Bikes first launched in 2017 and was in operation through spring 2020. During that time, residents and visitors embraced Blue Bikes as a valuable community asset. Bike share offered a healthy, environmentally-friendly and accessible transportation option to move around the Crescent City.

 

When Blue Bikes relaunches, the initial system area will include parts of the Lower Garden District, Central City, the Central Business District, the French Quarter, the Marigny, the Bywater, the 7th Ward, Tremé, Mid-City and the lower section of City Park.

 

Blue Bikes 2.0 will have a particular focus on serving areas identified in the City of New Orleans’ Bicycle Equity Index, which are primarily lower-income and communities of color with low car ownership rates. The program will connect these neighborhoods to job centers and amenities.

 

Additionally, through dedicated outreach with specific metrics to measure progress, Blue Bikes 2.0 will ensure that bike share is easily accessible for residents of color and low-wealth communities, residents who work in the service and hospitality industry, and/or residents who lack access to other transportation options.

 

People can sign up to ride Blue Bikes by downloading the Blue Bikes Nola app. People can also ride through the $0.15 per minute Pay As You Go option or with a $25 monthly membership. Additionally, through the Blue Bikes for All program, New Orleans residents who qualify for Medicaid or Louisiana Purchase (SNAP) will be able to access a reduced-price plan of $4 per month. To learn more about the Blue Bikes pricing and system area, visit BlueBikesNola.com.

 

"We are proud of our partnership with Blue Krewe and the City of New Orleans to bring this healthy, environmentally friendly, affordable transportation option back to the Crescent City," said Dr. I. Steven Udvarhelyi, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana President and CEO. "Blue Bikes promotes healthy exercise and gives residents an easy way to get to work or school, go to medical appointments or shop at full-service grocery stores and farmers markets. We know from the first round of the program that Blue Bikes meets transportation needs in the New Orleans community, and we’re looking forward to seeing the bikes rolling through city streets again."

 

Blue Bikes 2.0 Operations

During its first years of operation, the Blue Bikes program was highly successful, with riders logging more than a million miles within the first two years and eliminating more than a million miles in carbon offset — a gasoline cost savings of nearly $700,000. Trips taken and miles ridden jumped up each year of Blue Bikes’ operation, as more people embraced the program.

 

The original Blue Bikes system shut down in spring 2020 following ownership changes that led to the previous out-of-state corporate operator ending bike share operations in the New Orleans market. 

 

But, recognizing the importance of Blue Bikes for New Orleans and the need for local control of the city’s bike-share system, local bike share enthusiasts – including former Blue Bikes staff, bicycling and walking advocates, philanthropists and community healthcare organizations – came together to form Blue Krewe last year. The Greater New Orleans Foundation provided critical start-up funding and fiscal sponsorship for Blue Krewe. Blue Krewe's partners include Bike Easy, title sponsor Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, and the City of New Orleans.

 

“When corporate decision-makers far from New Orleans shut down our bike share program during the middle of the pandemic, we knew we needed the next era of bike share to be controlled locally,” said Andy Kopplin, President & CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation and Treasurer of the Blue Krewe board. “The Greater New Orleans Foundation was thrilled to work with Mayor Cantrell and our partners to create the new nonprofit structure and provide critical seed capital and fiscal sponsorship to get Blue Krewe off the ground.”

 

Blue Krewe’s governance structure as a community-based nonprofit organization is specifically designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of an equitable bike share program in New Orleans.

 

Blue Krewe has assembled a board of directors with a wealth of experience and dedication to Southeastern Louisiana. Blue Krewe’s Board of Directors includes:

  • Board President Corey Hebert, CEO, College Health TV and Chief Medical Editor of Black News Channel
  • Board Secretary Dan Favre, Executive Director of Bike Easy
  • Treasurer Andy Kopplin, CEO and President of the Greater New Orleans Foundation
  • Board Member Destinie Hammond, Communications Manager for the North American Bikeshare Association
  • Board Member Emilie Bahr, Urban Planner and Walking + Biking Evangelist
  • Ex-Officio Board Member Laura Bryan, Director of the City of New Orleans Mayor’s Office of Transportation
  • Ex-Officio Board Member Rod Teamer, Director of Diversity Program and Business Development, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana

For more information and timely updates on the Blue Bikes 2.0 launch, visit BlueBikesNOLA.com or follow Blue Bikes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @BlueBikesNOLA.

 

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