City Announces Blue Bikes’ Return to New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (July 28, 2021) – Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced today that Blue Bikes, Louisiana’s first bikeshare program, will return to the City of New Orleans later this summer. A fleet of 500 pedal-assist e-bikes will be ready to ride by Sept. 1.
The city announced the relaunch of Blue Bikes in partnership with Blue Krewe, a local, community-based nonprofit organization that operates the program, and title sponsor Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.
“The upcoming launch of Blue Bikes is a major accomplishment in our commitment to improve equity, connectivity, safety and efficiency in our transportation networks. Bike share is a critical component of our transportation system; people rely on it to get to work, and we are excited that 500 bikes will be back on the streets soon. We appreciate the partnership in the Greater New Orleans Foundation, which helped develop the new program, and are thankful for the return of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana as lead sponsor. Blue Bikes is returning better than before, with a greater focus on supporting our community every step of the way,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
About Blue Bikes 2.0
Blue Bikes first launched in 2017 and was in operation through spring 2020. During that time, residents and visitors embraced Blue Bikes as a valuable community asset. Bikeshare offered a healthy, environmentally friendly and accessible transportation option to move around the Crescent City.
When Blue Bikes relaunches, the initial system area will include parts of the Lower Garden District, Central City, the Central Business District, the French Quarter, the Marigny, the Bywater, the 7th Ward, Tremé, Mid-City and the lower section of City Park.
Blue Bikes 2.0 will have a particular focus on serving areas identified in the City of New Orleans’ Bicycle Equity Index, which are primarily lower-income and communities of color with low car ownership rates. The program will connect these neighborhoods to job centers and amenities.
Additionally, through dedicated outreach with specific metrics to measure progress, Blue Bikes 2.0 will ensure that bikeshare is easily accessible for residents of color and low-wealth communities, residents who work in the service and hospitality industry, and/or residents who lack access to other transportation options.
People can sign up to ride Blue Bikes by downloading the Blue Bikes Nola app. People can also ride through the $0.15 per minute Pay As You Go option or with a $25 monthly membership. Additionally, through the Blue Bikes for All program, New Orleans residents who qualify for Medicaid or Louisiana Purchase (S/NAP) will be able to access a reduced-price plan of $4 per month. To learn more about the Blue Bikes pricing and system area, visit BlueBikesNola.com.
“We are proud of our partnership with Blue Krewe and the City of New Orleans to bring this healthy, environmentally friendly, affordable transportation option back to the Crescent City,” said Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana President and CEO Dr. I. Steven Udvarhelyi. “Blue Bikes promotes healthy exercise and gives residents an easy way to get to work or school, go to medical appointments or shop at full-service grocery stores and farmers markets. We know from the first round of the program that Blue Bikes meets transportation needs in the New Orleans community, and we’re looking forward to seeing the bikes rolling through city streets again.”
Blue Bikes 2.0 Operations
During its first years of operation, the Blue Bikes program was highly successful, with riders logging more than a million miles within the first two years and eliminating more than a million miles in carbon offset – a gasoline cost savings of nearly $700,000. Trips taken and miles ridden jumped up each year of Blue Bikes’ operation, as more people embraced the program.
The original Blue Bikes system shut down in spring 2020 following ownership changes that led to the previous out-of-state corporate operator ending bikeshare operations in the New Orleans market.
But, recognizing the importance of Blue Bikes for New Orleans and the need for local control of the city’s bikeshare system, local bikeshare enthusiasts – including former Blue Bikes staff, bicycling and walking advocates, philanthropists and community healthcare organizations – came together to form Blue Krewe last year. The Greater New Orleans Foundation provided critical start-up funding and fiscal sponsorship for Blue Krewe. Blue Krewe’s partners include Bike Easy, title sponsor Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, and the City of New Orleans.
“When corporate decision-makers far from New Orleans shut down our bikeshare program during the middle of the pandemic, we knew we needed the next era of bikeshare to be controlled locally,” said Andy Kopplin, President & CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation and Treasurer of the Blue Krewe board. “The Greater New Orleans Foundation was thrilled to work with Mayor Cantrell and our partners to create the new nonprofit structure and provide critical seed capital and fiscal sponsorship to get Blue Krewe off the ground.”
Blue Krewe’s governance structure as a community-based nonprofit organization is specifically designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of an equitable bikeshare program in New Orleans.
Blue Krewe has assembled a board of directors with a wealth of experience and dedication to Southeastern Louisiana. Blue Krewe’s Board of Directors includes:
• Board President Dr. Corey Hebert, CEO, College Health TV and Chief Medical Editor of Black News Channel
• Board Secretary Dan Favre, Executive Director of Bike Easy
• Treasurer Andy Kopplin, CEO and President of the Greater New Orleans Foundation
• Board Member Destinie Hammond, Communications Manager for the North American Bikeshare Association
• Board Member Emilie Bahr, Urban Planner and Walking + Biking Evangelist
• Ex-Officio Board Member Laura Bryan, Director of the City of New Orleans Mayor’s Office of Transportation
• Ex-Officio Board Member Rod Teamer, Director of Diversity Program and Business Development, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
For more information and timely updates on the Blue Bikes 2.0 launch, visit BlueBikesNOLA.com or follow Blue Bikes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @BlueBikesNOLA.
About Blue Krewe
Founded in New Orleans in 2020, Blue Krewe is a local, community-based non-profit that manages and operates the Blue Bikes program. Recognizing the importance of Blue Bikes as a healthy, equitable, and environmentally-friendly transportation option, local bikeshare enthusiasts – such former Blue Bikes staff, biking and pedestrian advocates, philanthropists and community healthcare advocates – came together to form Blue Krewe. Here at Blue Krewe, we are committed to our mission to provide the Greater New Orleans region with equitable shared micro-mobility solutions that are rooted in and supportive of our community.
The Greater New Orleans Foundation provided critical start-up funding and fiscal sponsorship for Blue Krewe. Blue Krewe’s partners include Bike Easy, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans. To donate, volunteer or learn more visit www.BlueKrewe.org.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We have been recognized for the past three years as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media.
About the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF)
With roots extending over 90 years, the Greater New Orleans Foundation has been connecting generous people to the causes that spark their passion. As one of the most trusted philanthropic organizations in the region, we work every day to drive positive impact through philanthropy, leadership, and action in our thirteen-parish region. In addition to grantmaking, we convene people, resources, and ideas to create intelligent strategies and solutions to meet our region’s greatest challenges. We are proud to serve as a vocal civic leader with our partners to ensure a vibrant, sustainable, and just region for all. Learn more at www.gnof.org.