NEW ORLEANS – Today, the City of New Orleans announced that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is the title sponsor of the City’s first bike share program. The City’s bike share vendor, Social Bicycles, joined Blue Cross President and CEO Dr. I. Steven Udvarhelyi to unveil the program, named Blue Bikes.
“Bringing bike share to our city will expand transportation options for our residents and visitors at a low cost,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “We are excited to partner with Blue Cross and Blue Shield in this project, creating a healthy way for residents and visitors to experience New Orleans. Blue Bikes is integrated with our transit system and won’t cost the people of New Orleans any money to maintain. Building quality public transit is essential to building a city for the ages. We can’t wait for the program to begin in late fall.”
Blue Cross President and CEO Dr. I. Steven Udvarhelyi said, “We are dedicated to improving the health and lives of Louisianans, which Blue Bikes will do. This program not only gives city residents and visitors a new, environmentally friendly transportation option, it will also create more opportunities to burn calories, improve fitness and expand access to fresh, healthy options in food desert areas. It’s fair to say that getting around the Big Easy is about to get easier. We couldn’t be happier to join with the city in bringing this innovative program to New Orleans.”
The final station locations are a result of the robust community outreach process involving residents, partner agencies, institutions, community groups, businesses, and stakeholders. Over 100 participants attended six community workshops in March and April 2017 and provided input on bike share station location maps. In June 2017, residents voted online to provide feedback on bike share station locations that would best serve their transportation needs.
Now that final input is complete, locations are being assessed for feasibility, including sufficient sun exposure for battery charging, space availability, 24-hour access, and visibility.
Blue Bikes will launch in late fall of 2017 with 700 bikes in 70 locations. Once established, Social Bicycles plans to expand the program based on rider demand. The Blue Bikes pricing structure includes discounts for locals and Blue Cross customers. A separate pricing track will be available for residents who qualify for public assistance to purchase rides at a lower cost. One-hundred percent of the bike share program will be privately financed through sponsorships, advertisements, and rental fees.
The new bikes have smart-design safety features built in, to lower risks of injury or theft. Some Blue Bikes features are not yet available in any other bike share market in the country. The Blue Bikes will have GPS tracking and remote locking capabilities, chainless operation, front and rear safety lights and an eight-speed internal hub. Riders can keep track of their miles pedaled, calories burned and carbon offset, and they can use the Blue Bikes app to share their stats with friends. All bikes will be equipped with a sturdy basket rides can use to carry groceries and other belongings.
Bike share is a fun, healthy and convenient transit option that offers online and on-the-spot opportunities to reserve and rent a bike throughout the City. The goal is to provide a seamless, sustainable, and affordable mode of transportation. It is designed to serve all residents, improve neighborhood quality of life, and provide year-round, equitable access to work sites and destinations.
Studies of bike share programs across the country show an increase in cycling and the health benefits that accompany it. These benefits are not just limited to the actual program. Cities with bike share programs also see an overall increase in bicycles sales, with part-time riders converting to full-time commuters.
The fees for bike rental are:
New Orleans is growing rapidly as a bicycling city. The city was recognized as a bicycle-friendly community in fall 2014 by the League of American Bicyclists. Recently, New Orleans was selected by People for Bikes as one of 10 cities to participate in their Big Jump Project to reimagine bicycle infrastructure. For more information, please visit http://www.peopleforbikes.org/placesforbikes/landing/the-big-jump-project .
For additional information about the bike share program, please visit http://www.nola.gov/bikeshare.
For more information on Blue Bikes visit www.BlueBikesNola.com or follow Blue Bikes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is the largest private insurer in the state of Louisiana and has been increasing its commitment to the New Orleans region not just through Blue Bikes, but also through holding the Business to Business Forum on Healthcare Solutions, which will take place on Sept. 7, 2017, and joining Tulane University to create the Partnership for Healthcare Innovation. The insurer has also recently launched the SmartShopper website, designed to make healthcare pricing more transparent for Blue Cross customers across the state.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to improving the health and lives of all Louisianians. With our subsidiaries, HMO Louisiana and Southern National Life, we provide group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to one out of four Louisiana residents. We’re the only Louisiana insurer that offers plans in every parish. We also provide every customer with comprehensive wellness education, programs and services to help them live healthier lives. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, we have eight regional offices to serve our customers around the state.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is dedicated to transforming the healthcare industry in Louisiana into one that delivers high-quality health outcomes for our customers with top-notch service at more affordable costs. Our reputation for exceptional service and prompt payments, as well as the hard work of our 200+ in-house doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and dietitians, keeps both customer and provider satisfaction high. Surveys by the Louisiana State Medical Society and the Louisiana Hospital Association consistently rank Blue Cross the best company providers do business with.
Blue Cross is deeply committed to the communities we serve. We invest both time and money in the health and wellbeing of Louisiana children by supporting more than 200 charitable organizations. We invite and encourage all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media through our online hub at www.bcbsla.com/social/