Our local affiliate, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) is teaming up with Multicultural Communities for Mobility (MCM) to help L.A. Metro ensure that their brand new bike share program is equitable, serving not just tourists and the well-off, but also low-income residents of Los Angeles. L.A. Metro Bike Share launched their pilot bike share program last month, with 65 docking stations in Downtown Los Angeles. LACBC and MCM will be looking carefully at the program, getting community input, and offering Metro some recommendations about how they can make the program more equitable. Metro Bike Share, says Rio J. Contreras, from MCM, who is taking the lead on the collaboration, is unique among bike share programs because it is the first in North America to be run by a Transportation Authority.
“We are able to start looking at bike share as a form of public transportation,” says Rio. Rio notes that, while some have criticized Metro for catering to the wealthy by placing a pilot program in Downtown L.A., there are thousands of service industry workers who take public transit to Downtown.
“If we can save them a 20 minute walk, replacing it with a 5-minute ride on a bike share bike,” says Rio, “then I think that’s a pretty amazing gain for our community members.”
Funded by the Better Bike Share partnership, this joint initiative will give MCM and LACBC a chance to do research on what low-income communities need in their transportation systems, creating a model for bringing community participation to future public transportation projects.