D.C. leads charge to provide affordable bikeshare

Washington D.C. bikeshare

The Capital Bikeshare program has announced it will provide annual memberships for $5 for low-income residents. Photo: Mr. TinDC/Flickr

As the bike movement continues to sweep across the country, Washington D.C. has become a leader in the efforts by cities across the nation to provide affordable biking for all by announcing it will offer annual memberships for its bikeshare program for as low as $5.

On Thursday, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced the creation of the Capital Bikeshare Community Partners Program.

The program will be run through local nonprofit and social services organizations, and disadvantaged individuals who qualify for the services of welfare programs like Back on My Feet will be provided with annual Capital Bikeshare memberships for $5 compared to the standard $85 annual fee.

In addition to being given reduced membership fees, the program will allow the low-income Capital Bikeshare members to use the bikes for a full hour as opposed to the normal 30 minutes before incurring additional ride fees.

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“It is critical that those with the most need are able to travel quickly and economically to and from their appointments, jobs, training and classes,” Leif Dormsjo, director of the DDOT, said in a statement. “By including need-based Capital Bikeshare annual memberships, we are ensuring that all District residents can use this healthy, affordable and efficient means of travel.”

In addition to those benefits, people who sign up will be given free bikeshare helmets as well as a cycling class with the Washington Area Bicycling Association.

RELATED: Los Angeles Metro becomes more bike-friendly

In adopting the $5 annual membership structure for low-income citizens, D.C. is following in the footsteps of Chicago, Boston and New York, three cities which also adopted $5 annual memberships for their bikeshare programs in recent years.

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