Blue Bikes

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Blue Bikes
Owner The municipalities of Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville, Massachusetts.
Locale Greater Boston, United States
Transit type Bicycle sharing system
Number of stations 180 (May 2017)[1]
Annual ridership 5.3 Million (2017)[1]
Began operation July 28, 2011
Operator(s) Motivate
Number of vehicles 1,600+ (May 2017)[1]
Hubway bike visits New York

Blue Bikes, originally Hubway, is a bicycle sharing system in the Boston, Massachusetts metropolitan area. The system is owned by the cities of Boston, Cambridge, 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 May 2017, the system had deployed 180 stations with a fleet of over 1,600 bikes.[1]

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.[2] The name change took effect on May 9, 2018, with the release of the newly re-branded blue bicycles.[3]


Logo of Hubway

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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6]

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,[7] 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.[6] In May 2017, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced a planned two-year expansion, adding 70 new stations and offering year-round service.[1]

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.[2] 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.[3]


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.[8] 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 [9] and was closely followed by similar efforts by employees of Alta Bicycle Share in Washington, D.C.[10] and Chicago.[11]

Membership and payments[edit]

Annual members are given an RFID key like the one pictured here.

Blue Bikes offers single rides for $2.50 (up to 45 minutes in duration) as well as annual, monthly, 72-hour, and 24-hour memberships. All membership options allow users to rent a Blue Bikes bicycle for an unlimited number trips up to 45 minutes each in duration. After 45 minutes, "overtime" fees of $2.50 per each 30 minute block of time are incurred.


Locations of Hubway stations as of September 2014
Bicycles at a Hubway station.

The system uses bicycles designed and manufactured by Montreal-based PBSC.[12] 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Vaccaro, Adam (2017-05-25). "Hubway set for big expansion and year-round service". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2017-05-26. 
  2. ^ a b "Hubway Will Become Blue Bikes, And The Fleet Will Grow". WBUR. WBUR Newsroom. Retrieved 7 March 2018. 
  3. ^ a b Fisher, Jenna. "Hubway Trades Green For Blue Bikes Starting Today". Patch Media. Retrieved May 9, 2018. 
  4. ^ "Mayor Menino Signs First-Ever Bike Share Contract Launching Hubway in Boston". City of Boston. Retrieved December 31, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Hubway Bike-Sharing Program Gets Rolling". WBUR. July 29, 2011. Retrieved December 31, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Hubway Media Kit". Hubway. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  7. ^ "Ready To Ride: Hubway Expands Winter Operations". WBUR. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "Hubway Workers Elect to Join Transit Union". 
  9. ^ "Hubway should extend do-good efforts to its own employees - The Boston Globe". 
  10. ^ Lydia DePillis (24 October 2014). "D.C. Bikeshare workers look to unionize — and build a nationwide Bikeshare powerhouse". Washington Post. 
  11. ^ Chicago Tribune (3 November 2014). "Union seeks to represent Divvy workers". 
  12. ^ "PBSC Homepage". Retrieved 12 July 2015. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Blue Bikes at Wikimedia Commons