Bublr Bikes for All
It’s not always readily apparent, but the organization behind Bublr Bikes is a mission-driven, Milwaukee-based not-for-profit. Our mission statement informs everything that we do:
Bublr Bikes delivers a sustainable, excellent bike share system for all.
Every day, we strive to grow Bublr Bikes into a world-class bike share system that’s healthy, fun and accessible for all. We take “for all” very seriously! Bublr has only been around since August of 2014, but we want to become a valued, long-standing transportation asset for our great city.
But where do we begin? It’s easy to make assumptions and charge forward, but we know that simply listening is always the best, the most genuine, and the most fruitful place to start.
Bublr staff and our Board of Directors are very proud today to release a report Bublr Bikes: A Bike Share System for All Milwaukeeans that we invested in to help us understand – directly from resident and stakeholder feedback – the strategies necessary to ensure an equitable bike share system. We hope the report will better guide our programming and help us create an even better partnership with you, the citizens of Milwaukee.
Nancy Ketchman of Bottlewood Communications conducted the independent study. She quickly found that the most important thing Bublr Bikes can do to create an equitable bike share system is to place bike share stations in low-income neighborhoods. “Most systems have historically started out in more affluent neighborhoods, mostly to ‘make money,’ with expansion into low income neighborhoods an important, but secondary goal,” Ketchman stated in the report. “Bublr Bikes has an opportunity to become a leader in equity by reversing this typical expansion strategy.”
Ketchman’s report goes on to identify six more key “action items”:
- Develop and maintain a year-round community outreach program and presence.
- Partner with residents and stakeholders in Low Income Neighborhoods, or LINs, to collaboratively identify, implement and evaluate community-driven recommendations for station location, pricing, and promotion.
- Offer subsidized and discounted passes.
- Offer alternatives to credit and debit cards for passes through bank partnerships or employer/housing authority/nonprofit organization sponsorships.
- Provide easy (in-person) or over the phone membership registration.
- Place maintenance facilities and/or commit to hiring certain % of staff from LINs.
Since Ketchman completed the report, we’ve implemented some important programming. Our new Single Ride pricing offers the lowest cost of entry of any bike share system in the country. We’re growing a training program to provide employment opportunities for Milwaukee youth through a partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs. Our stations now have user instructions in both English and Spanish. We’re also developing more Spanish content on our website.
Bublr has also developed a set of guiding principals that we feel are crucial to fulfill our mission:
- Develop an inter-municipal system of large scale
- Ensure station density and connection
- Communicate effectively with customers
- Provide a low cost of entry
- Build encouragement and engagement programs
- Be visible, active and integrated
Check out the About page for more detail on Our Mission In Action.
These are the first steps of many to come. We are now working to expand concentrically from our current 11-station service area in downtown Milwaukee. We’re also working to develop long-standing partnerships with organizations including the Boys & Girls Club, Layton Boulevard West Neighbors, Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, Walnut Way Conservation Corp, the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, and others. There’s much work to do, but Bublr is committed. We ask you to hold us accountable and help us achieve our mission of a bike share system for all.
We want your feedback, your challenges and your advice. Please e-mail or call us (414-412-1397) to continue the conversation.