NEW ORLEANS ( Jan. 11, 2023) – With Carnival season getting started, Blue Krewe – the local nonprofit that operates and manages Blue Bikes – is adding 300 new, pedal-assist e-bikes to the fleet. The additional Blue Bikes will be out on streets just in time for Mardi Gras. The new shipment will grow the current fleet to more than 800 bikes.
“The Blue Krewe team has been a steadfast partner of the City, demonstrating the value of local management in providing New Orleanians with affordable transportation options and alignment with the City’s public health and climate goals,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “Adding 300 new bikes to the program brings the City one step closer to the goal of offering 2,500 bike share options by 2025 as outlined by the updated Climate Action Plan released last month. It also ensures residents of all income levels have access to programs that increase physical activity while promoting healthy lifestyles through the use of low-carbon transportation.”
While Blue Bikes first launched in 2017 under the management of a for-profit, out-of-state operator, the idea of a bikeshare program for New Orleans emerged from community members advocating for the expansion of safe transportation options and bike infrastructure in the late 2000s.
After the original for-profit operators pulled out of the New Orleans market in 2020, bikeshare advocates decided that adopting a nonprofit governance model would promote the long-term sustainability of the program and ensure that bikeshare is run for and by residents of New Orleans.
To make the dream of community-run bikeshare a reality, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana recommitted as the title sponsor of Blue Bikes, ensuring healthy transportation options would be available and affordable in New Orleans.
“Blue Cross was proud to be the title sponsor of Louisiana’s first bikeshare program because Blue Bikes delivers a healthy, green way for New Orleanians to ride to work or school, buy fresh food, and get to medical appointments or events,” said Michael Tipton, Blue Cross head of Community Relations and Foundation president. “We’re excited by how enthusiastically the community has embraced Blue Bikes since its return. Now that the fleet is expanding, we hope even more people will enjoy the ride.”
The Blue Bikes fleet expansion benefits the greater New Orleans region by equitably providing affordable access to transportation for residents and visitors to the city. Since relaunching, roughly 47,000 riders took more than a quarter million Blue Bikes trips. Rider data show that more than half – approximately 60% – of Blue Bikes trips are taken by New Orleans residents.
As a local nonprofit, the success of Blue Bikes depends upon community support. The Greater New Orleans Foundation provided critical start-up funding and fiscal sponsorship for Blue Krewe. Blue Krewe relaunched New Orleans’ bikeshare program in the fall 2021 with an initial fleet of 504 pedal-assist e-bikes.
“The expansion of the Blue Bikes fleet is a clear demonstration that our city continues to move toward a more equitable and environmentally-sustainable future,” said Andy Kopplin, President & CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation and Treasurer of the Blue Krewe board. “As the Greater New Orleans Foundation celebrates our centennial year, we are thrilled to see the impact of our leadership investment into this program. We look forward to continuing to support the vision of Blue Krewe and working together to ensure our city and region thrive for generations to come.”
Additionally, both Entergy New Orleans and the Greater New Orleans Foundation continue to support community-run bikeshare as Blue Bikes station sponsors.
“For more than 20 years, we have invested in and partnered with community organizations to nurture the health benefits and reduction of emissions of a biking-friendly city," said Deanna Rodriguez, President and CEO of Entergy New Orleans. "We're excited to continue to help Blue Bikes grow their bikeshare program in New Orleans, which is an important part of our city's cleaner future of transportation."
Given the 24/7 nature of New Orleans’ economy, bikeshare builds upon the existing transit network to expand access to job opportunities throughout the city. To support this work, Blue Krewe continues to strategically partner with key stakeholders that promote connectivity and workforce development. As such, Blue Krewe welcomes the support of new incoming sponsor New Orleans and Company.
“The Blue Bikes are an example of how New Orleans is a city focused on sustainability and connectivity, which is a story we want to continue to tell the world,” said Walt Leger, President and CEO of New Orleans & Company. “New Orleans & Company is pleased to be part of this low-cost and healthy mode of transportation that increases mobility and accessibility for our residents and visitors who live, work and play in our great city.”
With the arrival of 300 new Blue Bikes, Blue Krewe looks forward to continuing work with community members and partners to expand equitable access to bikeshare.
"Blue Krewe is excited to be able to increase access to healthy, equitable and sustainable transportation. This is the first of what we hope will be many fleet expansions as we partner with the City of New Orleans and the community to increase transportation equity while decreasing our collective carbon footprint," said Geoff Coats, CEO of Blue Krewe. "Operating Blue Bikes as a community-focused nonprofit means that we both serve our community and rely on our community partnerships to deliver healthy, active transportation to all New Orleanians. These new bikes are the manifestation of all of our collective work."
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 were recognized for the past four 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 @BCBSLA.
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.