By Mrinal Gokhale
Many Milwaukeeans may have seen the sight of baby blue bikes in many neighborhoods over the past year. Bublr Bikes, Milwaukee’s only bike share program, has about 40 bike share stations to date. It allows users to rent a bike with the swipe of a credit card or purchased pass. Now, Bublr bikes are more easily accessible to lower income individuals ages 14 and up, thanks to a $64,000 grant from the Better Bike Share Partnership to the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee. Milwaukee was one of eight United States cities to receive this grant from the Better Bike Share Partnership. On July 8, HACM, along with Bublr Bikes and Dreambikes announced their partnership to decrease Bublr rates for Housing Authority residents in Milwaukee.
As a result of this grant, HACM residents can get an annual Bublr pass for just $8 as opposed to $80, as well as the option to pay as you go with cash rather than credit card.
“The new cost went into affect over a month ago, and we’ve already signed up over 30 HACM residents,” said Kevin Hardman, Bublr Bikes executive director. “More than 1,300 HACM residents within these areas qualify for the low cost, along with more than 5,000 public housing residents in Milwaukee.”
To expand awareness on the partnership, Hardman said he is hiring two Bublr Bikes ambassadors who must reside in the Hillside Terrace or Townhomes of Carver Park HACM developments.
“There are two stations at 6th and Galena St. and 6th and Reservoir Ave near Townhomes and Hillside Terrace with more than 200 trips taken from there this summer,” Hardman said. He added that the following HACM developments are within six blocks from current Bublr stations: Lapham Park, Townhomes of Carver Park, Hillside Terrace, Riverview, Arlington Court, Covent Hill and Olga Village.
Paul Williams, communications coordinator for HACM, said that their plan is to build an outreach project around the two Carver Park and Hillside Terrace stations as they are located near more than 700 low income neighborhoods.
“The purpose of the grant is to ensure Milwaukee’s bike share system is equitable and available to all Milwaukeeans regardless of income,” Williams said. “HACM and Bublr will provide assistance, encouragement and events to promote bike share usage within and around Townhomes of Carver Park and Hillside Terrace, all with an eye towards developing best practices that can be applied to other Milwaukee neighborhoods,” Williams said.