BOSTON, March 7, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts ("Blue Cross"), the municipalities of Boston, Cambridge, Brookline and Somerville, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and bike share operator Motivate International, Inc. today jointly announced a groundbreaking six-year partnership agreement that will build on the success of the Hubway system and greatly expand access to bike share in the metro region.
As part of the sponsorship, the existing Hubway system will be rebranded as Blue Bikes, reflecting Blue Cross' support for expanding and growing the bike share system with the municipalities. By the end of 2019, there will be 3,000 Blue Bikes on the streets — up from the 1,800 that exist today — and more than 100 new stations throughout the four municipalities. Blue Cross' support will allow for upgrades to the system overall, with brand new bikes, new mobile app features and more valet service at busy stations. The transition to Blue Bikes will take place this spring, when the expansion begins.
As part of the partnership, Blue Bikes will continue to be a public transportation system, owned by the municipalities of Boston, Cambridge, Brookline and Somerville, and operated by Motivate. Bike share is an affordable transportation option, with full-priced annual memberships available for just $99 per year. The recently-launched income eligible program provides $5 monthly memberships and $50 annual memberships to individuals over the age of 16 who participate in various assistance programs.
"We're delighted to partner with Boston, Cambridge, Brookline, and Somerville on the Blue Bikes initiative," said Andrew Dreyfus, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. "Not only are we helping to expand bike share access to communities that have long been asking for the program, we're also living up to our company's commitment to healthy living and to environmental sustainability. Through this program, we hope to serve as a catalyst empowering our fellow citizens to live healthy, active lives."
"The Hubway bike share program began in the City of Boston in 2011 and quickly became integral to our transportation system," said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "More recently, we introduced bike share in East Boston and substantially expanded the program in Brighton, Roxbury and North Dorchester. I am delighted to welcome Blue Cross Blue Shield as a partner as we further develop our bike share program and I'd like to thank them for helping us to make this resource available to additional Boston residents in their own neighborhoods."
"We are thrilled to partner with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts to enhance and expand our bike share system," said Louis A. DePasquale, Cambridge City Manager. "Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has a long history of promoting healthy living, and their partnership will help us increase equity and accessibility to active transportation for community members across the Boston metro region."
"We are delighted to have Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts on board as the new title sponsor of the regional bike share program," said Neil Wishinsky, Chair of Brookline Select Board. "Their mission to improve the health and wellness of the communities they serve makes them a natural partner to help us grow the system's reach and to improve access to active transportation for all walks of life."
"From the beginning, the Metro Boston area has been a great place for biking, and the addition of Blue Cross as a partner will allow us to truly take bike share to the next level," said Motivate CEO Jay Walder. "This partnership is further proof that private-sector support is a sustainable way to grow bike share systems and deliver real value for communities."
"Riding a bicycle is not only one of most cost-effective ways to get around an urban environment like Somerville, it also promotes one of our community's core goals: healthy living," said Mayor Joe Curtatone. "We're proud and thankful that this partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will allow us to more than double the number of bike share stations here over the next two years and give more residents a better opportunity to travel throughout Somerville - and beyond - by bike."
"The key impact of this groundbreaking sponsorship is to fulfill our long-time goal of extending the bike share system to every neighborhood in all four cities. We're thrilled this goal is now in sight," said Marc Draisen, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.
Blue Cross is committed to helping Massachusetts residents lead healthy lives. In 2017, the company and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation contributed $10.5 million in financial grants and pro-bono volunteer service to over 500 nonprofit organizations across the Commonwealth. The company believes that healthy people rely on a healthy planet and are focused on supporting solutions that improve air quality.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (bluecrossma.com) is a community-focused, tax-paying, not–for–profit health plan headquartered in Boston. We're the trusted health plan for more than 25,000 Massachusetts employers and are committed to working with others in a spirit of shared responsibility to make quality health care affordable. Consistent with our corporate promise to always put our 2.8 million members first, we're rated among the nation's best health plans for member satisfaction and quality. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
Motivate is the largest operator of bike share systems in North America—operating in eight cities including several major urban centers. Working with cities, Motivate has helped bring the benefits of bike share to more urban residents and visitors. Learn more at www.motivateco.com.
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SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts