Introducing local residents to cycling

From the beginning, staff knew that they wanted to open up the bike share opportunities to a wider range of society than the usual suspects.

“What we’re offering people is an introduction to cycling,” said Slade. “One of the areas we’re working with in Glasgow is the most ethnically diverse in Scotland. There are some language barriers where English isn’t the first language and people may be new to the UK.”

One of the most important ways to get cyclists of all backgrounds on the bikes is to take down as many access barriers as possible.

“Especially where people might not have smartphones or credit cards, we’re trying to break down barriers with cash payment and free phone numbers,” said Slade. “We have a £3 annual membership as part of the scheme. We provided half-an-hour free and have extended it to an hour. Riders experience anxiety when they don’t know how much they are going to be charged, or if there will be hidden costs.”

According to Slade, one key difference between the UK and US contexts is that in the UK it is more common to see people of various income levels living in the same neighborhood, which can make it challenging to target bike sharing services to those who might need them most. To help reach more people, staff are working with community organizations such as the Red Cross, a refugee charity and women’s groups.

Find out more about the Bikes for All program here.

Read more here.