|Owner||The municipalities of Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Everett, and Somerville, Massachusetts.|
|Locale||Greater Boston, United States|
|Transit type||Bicycle sharing system|
|Number of stations||262 (December 2018)|
|Annual ridership||2+ Million (2019)|
|Began operation||July 28, 2011|
|Number of vehicles||2,500+ (December 2018)|
Bluebikes, originally Hubway, is a bicycle sharing system in the Boston, Massachusetts metropolitan area. The system is owned by the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Everett, and Somerville and Town of Brookline, and is operated by Motivate. The system uses technology provided by 8D Technologies, as well as PBSC Urban Solutions for bikes, parts, and docking stations. The bike share program officially launched in Boston as Hubway on July 28, 2011 with 61 stations and 600 bicycles. In the spring of 2012, more stations were added in Boston as well as the neighboring municipalities of Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville. As of December 2018, the system had deployed 262 stations with a fleet of over 2,500 bikes. In 2018, total members exceeded 19,000, with 8 million total system rides. Expansion continued in 2019, with the neighboring City of Everett joining the system.
In March 2018, the municipal owners announced a six-year marketing deal with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and relaunch under the name of Blue Bikes. The name change took effect on May 9, 2018, with the release of the newly re-branded blue bicycles.
On Earth Day, April 21, 2011, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino signed an operating contract with Alta Bicycle Share, officially announcing the launch of a bike share system in Boston. Planned as a regional system, Hubway was initiated under Mayor Menino's Boston Bikes Program, which aimed to build Boston into one of the world's premier cycling cities. The program was fully funded by $4.5 million in grants from the Federal Transit Administration and local organizations. Within the City of Boston, the system was sponsored by Boston-based New Balance.
Hubway became operational on July 28, 2011, with an event in which members could ride bicycles from City Hall Plaza to a designated bicycle station. The event featured Mayor Menino, representatives from various sponsors, and related agencies. In November 2011, Hubway was shut down and disassembled for the winter as a preventive measure to counter New England winter weather.
On March 15, 2012, Hubway was relaunched for the season with the abutting communities of Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville also joining. By the end of the 2012 season on November 28, the system had 105 stations and 1,050 bikes. While a majority of the stations continued to be shut down for the winter season over the first years of the program, 25 stations in Cambridge remained open during a successful winter pilot program which became permanent. After the full system relaunched on April 2, 2014, it grew to 140 stations and over 1,300 bikes.
On December 4, 2014, Hubway's non-management employees voted 23–8, 74%, in favor of joining Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) Local 100. The unionization effort came after employees of CitiBike in NYC, owned by the same parent company Motivate (formerly named Alta Bicycle Share), joined TWU Local 100 in September 2014  and was closely followed by similar efforts by employees of Alta Bicycle Share in Washington, D.C. and Chicago.
Full system operations for 2014 concluded on November 26, though the system expanded its winter operations. For the second year, almost all Cambridge-based stations remained open year-round, and those stations were joined by 62 Boston-based stations that remained open through December 31, 2014. Inclement weather pushed back the full system reopening until April 17, 2015, and during the 2015 season the system grew to 155 stations and over 1,500 bicycles. In 2015, regular season operations concluded on November 25, though again Hubway expanded its winter operations further, with 110 stations remaining open through December 7, 2015; of those, 107 stayed open through December 31; and of those, the 37 Cambridge-based stations once again remain open year-round. In May 2017, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced a planned two-year expansion, adding 70 new stations and offering year-round service.
On March 7, 2018, Hubway announced a six-year partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, which included a system-wide re-branding as Blue Bikes, along with expanding the system to 3,000 bikes and adding over 100 new stations by the end of 2019. From its inception, the Boston portion of the system had been sponsored by Boston-based athletic company New Balance. The new sponsorship with Blue Cross covers all four municipalities. The name change took effect on May 9, 2018, with the release of new and re-branded bicycles.
On June 4, 2019, Bluebikes set a single-day ridership record with users taking 10,035 trips, the first time the ride-share has ever exceeded the 10,000-rider mark for a single day. The system continued to surpass its ridership records throughout summer 2019, hitting 13,642 trips in a single day in September. On September 19, 2019 Bluebikes passed 10 million total rides.
In the spring of 2018, as Motivate worked towards expanding the bike share program, attention was also focused on increasing membership opportunities for folks who may not have been able to pay the full price. Bluebikes offered an expanded Income-Eligible Program that offers membership rates of $5 per month or $50 per year, which are discounted from the standard prices of $20 per month or $99 per year. Residents can qualify for these discounted rates via their participation in any one of eleven different assistance programs, the likes of which range from EBT cards, Pell Grants, MassHealth, and Public housing initiatives. Additionally, the Bluebikes program offers a subsidized yearly membership fee of $5 for guests or clients of transitional housing options and homeless shelters located within the city of Boston. Those who qualify for these discounted rates have access to unlimited 60 minute trips, which is an increase from the standard 30 minute rides, which provides additional incentive to increase membership among a subset of the population that previously may not have had access.
Mayor Marty Walsh has said that these changes to the Bluebikes initiative are in line with the goals of Boston’s Go Boston 2030 transportation plan, which focuses on promoting transportation equity. Jay Walder, who was the CEO and President of Motivate at the time, stated that the Income-Eligible Program would make Bluebikes accessible for thousands of Bostonians who were previously unable to participate, and that these efforts to provide access regardless of income should serve as a model for sustainable transport initiatives across the country.
Starting on October 5th, 2019, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts began to sponsor $1 single rides on weekends until the end of 2019 to help combat transportation challenges arising from MBTA shutdowns. Blue Cross has also donated $10,000 to the Bluebikes Income-Eligibility Program to increase affordability. These initiatives have helped to establish Bluebikes as an affordable, healthy, and consistent alternative to more traditional public transportation options in Boston.
The system uses bicycles designed and manufactured by Montreal-based PBSC. The majority of docking stations are also supplied by PBSC while the newest docking stations are designed and manufactured by 8D Technologies. The stations are scattered across the Boston neighborhoods of Allston-Brighton, Fenway-Kenmore, Back Bay, South End, Beacon Hill, West End, North End, and the Financial District, as well as adjoining municipalities of Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville. The platform behind the bike share system is created by 8D Technologies, who also supply the server technology for BIXI Montréal, Citi Bike in New York City, Santander Cycles in London, Capital Bikeshare in Washington DC, and others.
- "Record-breaking news: Yesterday, Bluebikes riders completed a huge milestone, surpassing two million overall trips in 2019. We're already 13% ahead of 2018's 1,760,000 trips (and it's only the beginning of October). 2019 is looking like our best year yet — keep it up!pic.twitter.com/T9uxuR3LUG". @RideBluebikes. 8 October 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
- Getting Around Cambridge, City of Cambridge, 2019
- "Hubway Will Become Blue Bikes, And The Fleet Will Grow". WBUR. WBUR Newsroom. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
- Fisher, Jenna. "Hubway Trades Green For Blue Bikes Starting Today". Patch Media. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
- "Mayor Menino Signs First-Ever Bike Share Contract Launching Hubway in Boston". City of Boston. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
- "Hubway Bike-Sharing Program Gets Rolling". WBUR. July 29, 2011. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
- "Hubway Media Kit". Hubway. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- "Hubway Workers Elect to Join Transit Union". Boston.com.
- "Hubway should extend do-good efforts to its own employees - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com.
- Lydia DePillis (24 October 2014). "D.C. Bikeshare workers look to unionize — and build a nationwide Bikeshare powerhouse". Washington Post.
- Chicago Tribune (3 November 2014). "Union seeks to represent Divvy workers". chicagotribune.com.
- "Ready To Ride: Hubway Expands Winter Operations". WBUR. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
- Vaccaro, Adam (2017-05-25). "Hubway set for big expansion and year-round service". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
- "Two days later and you guys did it again! Bluebikes riders broke another ride record yesterday for the second time this week — completing a total of 13,642 trips. Let's see if we can do it again next week! https://twitter.com/RideBluebikes/status/1169265073015152641 …". @RideBluebikes. 6 September 2019. Retrieved 22 September 2019. External link in
- "BREAKING: we did it! Last night we hit 10 MILLION RIDES as a system! Special thanks to Wenbo Tao of Cambridge for putting us over the finish line with the 10-millionth ride. You've just been awarded a 3-year Bluebikes membership, Wenbo. Who's with us to try for 100 million?pic.twitter.com/cuJTsxIadS". @RideBluebikes. 20 September 2019. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
- "Income-Eligible Program". Bluebikes. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
- Mitchell, Jack. "Biking in Boston: What To Know Before You Get Rolling". WBUR. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
- Fisher, Jenna. "Boston Metro Hubway Expands Income-Eligibility For Bike Share". Patch Media. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
- "Go Boston 2030". Boston.gov. City of Boston. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
- "Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Sponsors $1 Single-trip Bluebikes Fares During MBTA Weekend Shutdowns". Market Insider. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
- "PBSC Homepage". Retrieved 12 July 2015.
Media related to Bluebikes at Wikimedia Commons