NEW ORLEANS— There are a lot of unknowns in regards to the future of the Blue Bikes bike sharing program in New Orleans.
The Blue Bikes first began in NOLA in December of 2017 and have been a success. Now their future is unclear.
Currently they are out of service and all of the uncertainties arose when Jump Bicycles the operator of Blue Bikes transferred from Uber to Lime.
Spokespeople with Lime say they are currently in conversations with the City of New Orleans to discuss the next steps for the bike sharing program.
In a statement to WGNO, Laura Bryan, Director, Mayor’s Office of Transportation said:
“Jump Bicycles, the operator of New Orleans Blue Bikes, was recently transferred from Uber to Lime as part of a larger financial transaction between the two companies. The City is in active conversations with both companies and with the Blue Bikes sponsor, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, to come up with a solution that is in the best interest of our residents and the future of our system. Regarding concerns about the bike fleet, based on videos online from other cities, the City of New Orleans has requested to both Uber and Lime that bikes are not removed until the next steps are finalized. This change comes after the successful launch of electric bicycles and the network expansion that occurred in February. The City remains committed to providing a bike share program and to improving bicycling infrastructure as part of the Moving New Orleans Transportation Strategy.”
Avid bike rider Dan Favre is the Executive Director at Bike Easy and he is passionate about the need for Blue Bikes in our city.
“Blue Bikes and bike share are really important ways for people to get around in New Orleans. We need to see a bike share program come back online as soon as possible,” he said.
Favre wants Lime and the City of New Orleans to reach a solution.
“It feels like the corporate owners of Blue Bikes are potentially pulling the rug out after a lot of hard work that’s been done by the City of New Orleans and other entities and that’s deeply disappointing,” Favre said.
There have been reports in other cities that the bike sharing systems are being taken down and the bikes are being destroyed.
The City says they’ve asked both Uber and Lime to not do anything with the Blue Bikes until the next steps are finalized.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has been the sponsor of the Blue Bikes and Cindy Wakefield, Spokesperson for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana said in a statement:
“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana remains committed to Blue Bikes, the bike share program in New Orleans. Over the past two years, we have taken tremendous pride in sponsoring an alternative, healthy mode of transportation for our fellow Louisianians- the residents of New Orleans- and have worked hard to promote and push for expanded access as ridership has dramatically increased. We have not received any formal communication from Uber or Lime, including official notice about the transfer of the bike share program from Uber to Lime, or about the companies’ future plans for Blue Bikes. However, we are committed to working with the City of New Orleans to continue sponsoring a bike share program.”