NEW ORLEANS – Blue Krewe and the City of New Orleans announced today that Drop Mobility has been selected as the vendor to provide e-assist bikes and software for the relaunch of Blue Bikes. Blue Krewe is the new, local nonprofit dedicated to bringing bike share back to New Orleans. Drop Mobility, headquartered in Toronto, Canada, and serving communities across the U.S. and Canada, works with and supports nonprofit bike share operators, transit agencies and other community stakeholders and municipal leaders who want to bring sustainable micro-mobility to their constituents.
“With the limited resources of a new nonprofit, Blue Krewe had to search far and wide for the right vendor to provide the bikes and software for the new Blue Bikes. Not only has Drop offered the best deal for the people of New Orleans, but the structure of the partnership also ensures local control and the long-term commitment from Drop to continuously work with us to improve the system,” said Dan Favre, Board Member of Blue Krewe and Executive Director of Bike Easy, the Greater New Orleans bicycle education and advocacy organization.
“We believe in enabling communities to build and operate a bike share system that works best for them,” said Dipesh Dar, Co-founder and COO of Drop Mobility. “By partnering with cities and municipalities, we are able to create a system that is affordable, reliable, sustainable, and integrated with the existing infrastructure.”
Working together, Blue Krewe, Drop Mobility, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Bike Easy, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, and the City of New Orleans have developed a path forward to launch a fleet of 500 e-assist bikes by Sept. 1, 2021.
The bikes are being custom fabricated for New Orleans and will feature the familiar Blue Bikes color and brand. Blue Krewe will pay Drop on a fee-for-service model for access to the software while the ultimate cost of the bikes will be dependent upon the success of the system. “Think of it like a lease-to-own type of situation, “ said Geoff Coats, CEO of Blue Krewe. “This arrangement also allows Blue Krewe to hire locally to directly manage day-to-day operations of Blue Bikes.”
“This partnership with Drop Mobility brings our City significantly closer to restoring bike share to our residents as an affordable transportation option and represents how partnership is a core value of our strategy to deliver a world-class bike-share system,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
“We would not be where we are today without the critical early support we received from the Greater New Orleans Foundation and without the long-term investment in New Orleans by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana,” said Coats. “The addition of Drop Mobility means we will be able to return bike share this year. Our hope is then to scale this effort with additional support from local businesses, philanthropic organizations and the community. Donations can be made at BlueKrewe.org/donate.”
“Blue Bikes promotes healthy exercise and brings more transportation options to residents and visitors alike, which has the potential to improve Louisiana’s historically poor health outcomes,” said Rod Teamer, Blue Cross director of Diversity Program Business Development. “More and more, we’re seeing the connection between addressing social factors, like transportation access, and people becoming healthier. That’s been especially important over the past year, as people look for socially distanced ways of getting to work, to school, to health appointments or to wherever they need to go. We’re grateful to work with Blue Krewe, City of New Orleans and Drop Mobility to get Blue Bikes rolling again – literally – in spite of the financial, technical, and supply chain challenges during this pandemic year.”
“We’re proud to have been able to provide critical start-up grants and fiscal sponsorship to Blue Krewe, including making a significant cash advance on their behalf to ensure that Drop Mobility could begin the bicycle fabrication process in time to meet the City’s deadlines,” said Andy Kopplin, President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation and a Blue Krewe Board Member. “It’s taken a true community partnership to bring bike share back to New Orleans, and I cannot wait to join our partners to celebrate their arrival in New Orleans later this summer.”
E-assist bikes make bicycling more accessible and available to a wide swath of people who may not otherwise choose to ride. Time and again, the data show that more people use e-assist bikes. The new e-bikes will feature a pedal-assist hub similar to the previous Blue Bikes, front and rear lights, an integrated bell, and are compatible with the existing Blue Bikes stations.
Drop Mobility will not only provide the hardware, the e-assist bikes, but is also developing a custom Blue Bikes app that riders will use to rent the bikes as well as the custom operations software that the Blue Bikes operations team will use to manage the system, ensuring orderly public space.
About Blue Krewe
Blue Krewe is the new nonprofit formed to bring bike share back to New Orleans in partnership with Mayor Cantrell and the New Orleans City Council and with leadership and fiscal support from the Greater New Orleans Foundation and other generous donors. Blue Krewe is working to build a better world by getting more people moving sustainably and by removing barriers to active transportation. With title sponsorship from Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana, Blue Krewe will return bikes to the streets of New Orleans by September 1, 2021.
About Drop Mobility
Drop Mobility enables sustainable, local, micro-mobility for cities. Providing an end-to-end mobility solution and creative financial options, Drop partners with municipal organizations like transit agencies, non-profit bike share operators, urban planners, campus administrators, mobility enthusiasts, other community stakeholders and municipal leaders to bring bike share to their constituents.
City of New Orleans
The Mayor’s Office of Transportation is designed to ensure communication among departments and external partners to promote transportation priorities that encourage safety, equity, regional connectivity and multi-modal accommodations to provide for the future prosperity of the City and its citizens.
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 were recognized in 2019 and 2020 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.