Can Monthly Passes Improve Bike Share Equity?

Adding monthly membership options to bike share pricing plans may increase bike share enrollment, especially among low-income potential riders, new research from NACTO finds. NACTO’s second Equity Practitioners’ Paper, Can Monthly Passes Improve Bike Share Equity, uses research from comparable industries, findings from focus groups, and reports from outreach ambassadors to explore the impact of bike share pricing structures on sign-up rates. As cities continue to look for ways to better engage low-income potential riders, adding monthly membership options which offer greater financial flexibility and reduce “sticker shock” should be considered.

In particular, NACTO finds that low-income people may especially benefit from installment options or monthly memberships. While evidence suggests that the total cost of an annual bike share membership is not an insurmountable barrier for most low-income people, many low-income people have difficulties coming up with the lump-sum payment for annual membership. Indeed, NACTO’s analysis of comparable transit pass purchases reveals that low-income people are more likely to purchase short-term memberships than people in higher income brackets.